The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has issued a Florida travel alert, warning U.S. citizens that “if Florida State Bill 168 and House Bill 527 pass, it would undermine local governments’ ability to protect the civil rights of their residents by forcing local officials to cooperate with ICE.” 

According to CBS 4 Miami, the Florida House of Representatives voted Wednesday to pass Bill 168 and House Bill 527, which would require state and local law enforcement agencies to cooperate with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement by turning over undocumented immigrants to the federal government. The bills would also punish local police departments that don’t comply.

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The ACLU goes on to warn that the two bills put immigrants at risk of violence that could potentially cause victims and witnesses to remain silent for fear of deportation.

“Both Florida residents, citizens and non-citizens, and travelers could face risks of being racially profiled and being detained without probable cause,” ACLU said in an online statement. 

Miami Police Chief Jorge Colina is a strong opponent of the bills, saying, “The truth is I’d prefer not to have this job if I have to ask fellow officers to go check where someone came from before helping them.”

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The ACLU encourages travelers and residents to take the following steps now that the bills have been passed:

  • Memorize the phone number for a licensed immigration attorney
  • Discuss a plan with loved ones regarding care/custody of children, pets, property, belongings
  • Text UNIDOS to 313131 to stay connected (Standard rates apply)
  • Call the Immigrant Hotline at 1-888-600-5762 to learn about your constitutional rights
  • Research detailed information about how to engage with law enforcement from the ACLU