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The Florida Immigrant Coalition issues travel warning for Florida 

A national advisory warning immigrants on travel to Florida has been issued by The Florida Immigrant Coalition for what the group said was unsafe conditions for immigrants and their loved ones.

"Due to unconstitutional laws being passed in the state aiming to criminalize immigration and invite harassment of people without a regulated immigration status, every county in Florida now poses a high risk of unlawful detainment and potential family separation based on racial profiling," a media release issued by the group said. "Not only is this an attack on immigrants, but U.S. citizens and people who hold other migratory statuses could be charged with a felony if traveling or housing themselves with someone without a regulated immigration status."

The group said Governor Ron DeSantis is exercising an overreach of his power by criminalizing residents of other states who have legally issued licenses given to them by their states’ governments after meeting the requirements.

“We cannot in good conscience advise people to travel to a state where pretty soon they may be harassed by law enforcement and told their legally issued driver's licenses are invalid which could trigger a sequence of events where there is a potential for that person to never return home to their state but instead be swept up by immigration detention,” Adriana Rivera, Communications Director for the Florida Immigrant Coalition, said. “With political leaders in the state creating an increasingly hostile atmosphere for non-white citizens, many local officials are now feeling pressured to comply with unconstitutional directives that call into question their commitment to the safety of all those who reside in their communities.”

The Florida Immigrant Coalition is a statewide collective of more than 65 member organizations and over 100 allies, founded in 1998 and formally incorporated in 2004. 

Details of the advisory are attached and can be found atfloridatraveladvisory.com.

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“There is nothing more important than the safety of our communities and it is clear that our rights and civil liberties are under attack in Florida,” Rivera said. “For immigrants and people of color, it is vital that you understand that traveling to the state of Florida right now could put you and your family in immediate danger of unlawful detention and harassment within the state.”

A similar advisory was urged earlier in April by the Florida State Chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People to its national board.

In addition to the threat of detainment, recent changes in Florida call into question the availability of emergency medical or public safety services for all those without a regulated immigration status and with legally issued driver’s licenses from other states as a form of identification.

If travel to the state cannot be avoided, immigrants and people of color should be aware of resources that are available to them should they find themselves facing legal jeopardy.

“We are urging everyone who must travel to Florida to make a Safety Plan for themselves and their families before they arrive in the state,” advised David Metellus, Director of Policy and Politics for the Florida Immigrant Coalition. “All those visiting Florida should memorize the phone number of a licensed civil liberties or immigration attorney, discuss a plan with loved ones regarding care or custody of children, pets, and belongings, and be aware of the resources available to them through organizations on the ground dedicated to protecting their safety.”

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WGCU Staff