Due to unconstitutional laws being passed in Florida, intent on criminalizing immigrants, the Sunshine State is experiencing one of its darkest moments in history and could pose a risk to immigrants everywhere. The Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights (CHIRLA), the largest immigrant rights organization in California, joined other leading immigrant and civil rights organizations across the country issuing an Emergency Travel Advisory to any person, families or students, warning that Florida may not be a safe place to visit.
By Angelica Salas
It is with great concern that we join sister organizations across the country in advising immigrants, US citizens, and people who have different immigration status, that if they travel to Florida, they could be charged with a felony if traveling or housing themselves with someone without a regulated immigration status. Unless Florida’s lawmakers have a change of heart and stop their cruel and obsessive persecution of immigrants, we take the highly unusual but necessary step to warn travelers that Florida is not safe to visit.
These laws aim to criminalize immigration and invite harassment of people without a regulated immigration status, every county in Florida now poses a high risk of unlawful detainment and potential family separation based on racial profiling.
Governor Ron DeSantis is exercising an overreach of his power by criminalizing residents of other states who have legally issued licenses given to them by their states’ governments after meeting the requirements. Actions by one zealous, anti-immigrant governor should not be allowed to upend the lives of millions of Americans and their families visiting Florida.
With the stroke of a pen, Governor DeSantis is infringing and assaulting medical freedoms, academic freedoms, attempting to censure and erase LGBTQ+ communities, limitings arts and sports participation by members of some communities, fomenting racial prejudice, repealing gun safety laws, and frantically attacking immigrant communities. In his drive to appeal to the far-right wing of his party, Mr. DeSantis is making Florida an unwelcoming place for any American and we should all be very concerned.
We will continue to energetically work with other organizations to ensure we fight and defeat these discriminatory and divisive measures.
CHIRLA has made the following recommendations to anyone planning to travel to Florida:
• Create a clear safety plan
• Memorize the phone number for a licensed civil liberties and/or immigration attorney
• Discuss a plan with loved ones regarding care/custody of children, pets, property, and personal belongings
• Call the CHIRLA Immigrant Assistance Hotline (888-624-4752) or the Florida Immigrant Hotline (888-600-5762) to report a home or work raid and learn more about your constitutional rights
• Visit floridatraveladvisory.com for more information and resources
Other organizations, in addition to CHIRLA, issuing a Florida Travel Advisory this week include: Equality Florida, Promise Arizona, Indiana Driving Record Card Project, New Jersey Alliance for Immigrant Justice, Central American Resource Center, American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey, Iowa Migrant Movement for Justice, Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition, Dreamers Mothers in Action (DMIA), Cornerstones, Virginia Coalition of Latino Organizations, We Are All America, Virginia Coalition for Immigrant Rights, Make the Road New York, Latino Justice PRLDEF, Immigrant Law Center of Minnesota, and CWS Global.
Angelica Salas is the Executive Director for CHIRLA