Florida is proposing some of its toughest immigration laws in years, backed by Gov. Ron DeSantis. One bill proposes prosecuting legal residents who hide or transport people in the country illegally. As a result of that, another group has come out with a travel advisory for people coming to state.
The Florida Immigrant Coalition wants people to know they might face problems if the law is passed. They join two other groups Equality Florida and The Florida NAACP which have come out with similar warnings...to not come to Florida.
A tourist from North Carolina, Keith Kemp, was visiting St. Augustine and said, “Yeah, we’ve always heard Florida is wide open and free.”
But not everyone believes that is the case.
“I think it’s a concern for everyone, I mean this sounds like we’re going back 50 years,” another tourist named Gloria said.
Pierre Uwimana is from Rwanda, is here legally, and is involved with the group issuing the latest travel advisory. He said the state may not be safe for any immigrant.
“I’m very concerned that this bill that is promoted by Gov. DeSantis is going to harm, you know, not only the immigrants but also the rest of the community in general,” Uwimana said.
If approved, the bill would make it a felony for anyone hiding or transporting an illegal immigrant and it would require hospitals to report immigration status.
When asked what he says to people who say that they shouldn’t be here illegally, Uwimana said, “I do not agree with that. There is a reason why they are here. No one chooses to flee, no one choose to be a refugee or an immigrant. Because they are here, there is a reason why they are facing persecution in countries where they come from.”
Gov. DeSantis called the one issued by the Florida NAACP a few weeks ago, “a joke,” and his spokesman issued a statement to News4JAX on Thursday: “As the governor noted previously, this type of thing is a political stunt. We aren’t going to waste time on political stunts but will continue doing what is right for Floridians.”