Florida Anti-Immigrant Legislation 

In writing my blogs, I try not to get too political which is often difficult given that I write about U.S. Immigration law which is inherently political. Today I won’t even try not to get political.  What is being done in Florida by our legislators and Governor is beyond outrageous. The anti-immigrant stance of Florida officials will not just harm undocumented persons, it will negatively impact the economy of the state. Under our constitutional system, Immigration law is federal law but in Florida there is an ongoing attempt to allow Florida state law enforcement to enforce federal immigration law. Let me be clear – state law enforcement is not trained to know or understand federal immigration law. But lack of knowledge and understanding is not stopping the Florida state government from being vindictive and hateful and is not stopping them from harming the Florida economy. 

AILA – the American Immigration Lawyers Association provides much research and information to Immigration Lawyers. Today, I attach a document from AILA which is an analysis of the Florida Senate Bill 1718 signed into law on May 9th.   This law is an attempt to allow state law enforcement to enforce immigration law among other onerous provisions,  one of which may cause those in need of medical care to forego their treatment out of fear of deportation (removal) This law will be challenged so stay tuned. 

Florida has also imposed restriction on ownership of property by individuals from China, Venezuela, Syria, Russia, Iran, North Korea, and Cuba. I have attached the analysis of this law, FL 264. While the law  does not prohibit all real estate purchases it will have a chilling effect because of uncertainty as to whether this applies. This law  prohibits purchase of agricultural land or real property within 10 miles of any military installation or critical infrastructure which is defined as follows.

 “Critical infrastructure facility” means any of the following, if it employs measures such as fences, barriers, or guard posts that are designed to exclude unauthorized persons: 

 (a) A chemical manufacturing facility. 

(b) A refinery. 

 (c) An electrical power plant 

(d) A water treatment facility or wastewater treatment  plant. 

 (e) A liquid natural gas terminal. 

(f) A telecommunications central switching office. 

 (g) A gas processing plant, including a plant used in the processing, treatment, or fractionation of natural gas. 

 (h) A seaport 

(i) A spaceport territory 

(j) An airport 

While we certainly want to protect critical infrastructure , this looks more like campaign posturing that real protection. Would it really make us safer if a Venezuelan citizen was prohibited from purchasing  a house within 10 miles of an electrical power plant or wastewater treatment plant?  

This law is also being challenged so keep tuned on this one also. 

Please pay attention to the anti-immigrant stance in the state of Florida. This will hurt all of us and should be remembered in future elections.

Linda M Kaplan
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