Skip to main content Accessibility

To make Press Center inquiries, email

DeSantis Targets Immigrant Children

Latest Order Blocks State Licenses for Housing Facilities 

MIAMI – The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) issued the following statement by Anne Janet Hernandez Anderson, a Senior Supervising Attorney with the SPLC’s Immigrant Justice Project, responding to Gov. DeSantis’ proposed legislation and emergency rule from the Florida Department of Children and Families targeting immigrant communities and children in the state by blocking licenses for services to unaccompanied immigrant children:

“Governor DeSantis is yet again targeting immigrant communities across Florida, this time using children as pawns to further his anti-immigrant and xenophobic agenda. Contrary to Gov. DeSantis’ statements to the contrary, housing children in Florida facilities is in no way creating any sort of emergency for the state. This characterization is simply an attempt to skirt legal requirements to create legitimate regulations.

“It is essential to protect all children, regardless of the color of their skin, the language they speak, their country of origin, or what situation they find themselves in. Eliminating licensed and child-centered housing harms all unaccompanied minors, including infants and young children, many of whom are escaping trauma, violence, and persecution. 

“Gov. DeSantis and the larger white supremacist and anti-immigrant movement, composed of a network of xenophobic legislators and organizations seek to sanction the horror of exclusively placing unaccompanied children in CBP cages and mass federal shelters by eliminating licensed shelters.  

“With this order, Gov. DeSantis seeks to hide his failures from Floridians in a poorly managed pandemic response, an unprecedented affordable housing crisis, missing the deadline to apply for $2.3 billion in federal aid for Florida schools, and wasteful spending of $1.6M Florida taxpayer money for a trip to the border to further his political career. Every day Floridians are struggling to survive with the lowest income Floridians paying five and a half times in taxes than the wealthiest in the state. Rather than solving these devastating problems, Gov. DeSantis has chosen to try to invent yet another “crisis” by terrorizing families and children.”