The Florida Senate passes the immigration law against sanctuary cities


One inhabitant out of five in this state is an immigrant. Most come from Spanish-speaking countries like Cuba, Venezuela, Mexico or Peru; there are also those of the French-speaking and Anglo-Saxon Caribbean, Haiti, Barbados, Trinidad and Tobago.

But they all have something in common: a lot to lose with the new legislation, which is very close to the anti-immigration policy of President Donald Trump, ratified by the State Congress on Friday.

We refer, of course, to the state of Florida. One of the most hard-fought battlefields in any presidential election, where the votes that the state sends to the electoral college often end up tilting the balance towards one side or the other.

The approved projects, SB-168 and HB-527, require that all state agencies, municipal governments and police offices not only comply with federal immigration law, but also cooperate with federal agencies such as the Immigration Service and naturalization. Customs (ICE) to stop and deport immigrants.

In the recent past, it was the Republican Party that dominated politics both at the state level and in the presidential elections. And it was the party's president, Joe Gruters, who pushed the law.

But until now The Republicans of Florida had always been concerned about not alienating immigrants.

In 2014, the legislators of this party voted in favor of undocumented youth who receive funds to attend public universities. A year earlier, according to the newspaper The New York Times, they passed a law so that the undocumented could obtain driving licenses, even if the Governor in turn ended up vetoing it.

Trump's arrival to power, however, marks a new phase in the Republican Party, much less favorable to immigration, even in states like Florida.

In Miami, the most densely populated city in Florida, the number of immigrant arrests by agents of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) grew by 76% in the last fiscal year (between October 2016 and September 2017)), the biggest increase since Trump's arrival at the White House.

The new legislation also requires "the repeal of sanctuary policies" and prohibits elected officials from approving refuge policies that hinder cooperation with federal immigration authorities.

With the controversial "inmates" of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Service (ICE), this agency expects that the local police hold undocumented people which they usually are Arrested for minor offenses for longer than the time established by law, without the order of a judge, and for the purpose of his deportation.

Although in recent years similar initiatives have been presented in the Florida Legislature, which has a Republican majority, it is the first time that it has obtained approval.

On Wednesday, after days of heated debates, the House of Representatives gave the green light to the controversial law. Now, The only thing missing to take effect is the governor's signature, Republican Ron DeSantis, who spoke out in favor.

The Democratic Party and civil organizations protested against the measure.

"The approval of this bill in the Senate is a betrayal of immigrant communities in Florida and will have serious economic consequences in the future," said representative Luisana Perez.

"It is an attack on immigrants who have had to flee from countries like Venezuela and Cubaand seeks refuge in our state, "added Perez.

The Democrats have predicted that the law will negatively affect the state's economy. For much of the agricultural and tourism industry they depend on foreign labor.

In mid-February of this year, about fifteen organizations that defend immigrant rights have issued a travel advisory for all undocumented people in the country who intend to visit Florida.

"Traveling in all areas of the state of Florida should be done with extreme caution, as it can be extremely inconvenient and / or dangerous for non-whites, people who speak with an accent or who suffer from any verbal discomfort, and travelers international ", says the warning.


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