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Proposed bill sparks fears among Florida immigrants

Immigration laws are necessary in Florida, as well as the rest of the country, for the safety and best interests of American citizens and immigrants alike. However, it is not uncommon for new immigration legislation to be met with opposition.

A new bill has been introduced by Florida lawmakers, prompting some immigration rights groups, including the Florida Immigrant Coalition, to speak out in protest against the proposed legislation. If House Bill 675 passes, local and state government organizations would need to comply with federal laws on immigration. Those who are opposed to the bill say that it is unfairly biased against immigrants and would fuel fear between immigrant families, communities and state authorities. This fear stems from the possibility of being reported to immigration officials if certain agencies, such as government employers, schools and law enforcement, are required to report an immigrant’s undocumented status.

Under the proposed bill, it is feared that law enforcement would start asking about people’s legal status when they call to report a crime. Additionally, those against the bill point out that it aims at preventing cities from creating a sanctuary policy for immigrants. One group tried unsuccessfully to meet with Tampa’s mayor, Bob Buckhorn, in an effort to obtain a resolution that would protect people against the proposed legislation.

The fear of deportation is an issue that many immigrants already face, regardless of proposed legislation. Those who may be forced to leave the country have the right to seek legal counsel from an immigration attorney.

Source: WMNF, "Immigrants and allies speak out against Florida bill," Sean Kinane, Jan. 27, 2016

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