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SPLC Action Fund: Florida immigration enforcement bill violates Constitution, makes communities less safe

The Florida House this week approved House Bill 527 (HB 527), which would require local law enforcement to assist in federal immigration enforcement.

HB 527 is unconstitutional. It wastes taxpayer money, endangers our communities, separates families, and exposes local law enforcement to costly civil rights lawsuits.

By forcing local and state police to detain people for federal immigration authorities without probable cause, this law would violate the Fourth Amendment’s prohibition on unreasonable seizure, making police and sheriffs’ departments vulnerable to costly litigation. We are all safer when everyone is free from being illegally held in jail.

HB 527 also would make our cities and towns less safe by requiring local law enforcement to spend less of their limited time and resources fighting crime, and more on enforcing federal immigration laws.

People in immigrant communities would also be less likely to report crime to police or cooperate with investigations, for fear of immigration enforcement against themselves or their community members. This would make it harder for police to solve crimes.

Finally, this bill would inhumanely separate families, tearing apart parents and their children. This can have long-term traumatic effects on our youth and communities.

The SPLC Action Fund urges the Florida Senate to vote down this wasteful and unconstitutional piece of legislation.