By Elina Sadeghian
LOS ANGELES, CA -The Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights (CHIRLA), the largest immigrant rights organization in California, has issued an Emergency Travel Advisory, in conjunction with other leading immigrant and civil rights organizations across the United States, warning Florida may not be a safe place to visit.
“It is with great concern that we join sister organizations across the country in advising immigrants, U.S. citizens, and people who have different immigration statuses that if they travel to Florida, they could be charged with a felony if traveling or housing themselves with someone without regulated immigration status,” said Angelica Salas, CHIRLA’s executive director.
According to CHIRLA, every county in Florida now faces a high risk of unlawful detention and potential family separation based on racial profiling as a result of unconstitutional laws that have been passed in the state to criminalize immigration and encourage harassment of people without regulated immigration status.
Salas continued, “Unless Florida’s lawmakers have a change of heart and stop their cruel and obsessive persecution of immigrants, we take the highly unusual but necessary step to warn travelers that Florida is not safe to visit.”
CHIRLA has provided a set of recommendations for anyone planning to travel to Florida, including creating a clear safety plan, memorizing the phone number for licensed civil liberties and/or immigration attorney, discussing a plan with loved ones regarding care/custody of children, pets, property, and personal belongings.
CHIRLA also suggests visitors call the CHIRLA Immigrant Assistance Hotline or the Florida Immigrant Hotline to report a home or work raid and learn more about constitutional rights, and visiting floridatraveladvisory.com for more information and resources.
Salas added, “Gov. 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.
“Actions by one zealous, anti-immigrant governor should not be allowed to upend the lives of millions of Americans and their families visiting Florida.”
Other organizations, including Equality Florida, Promise Arizona, and American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey, among others, have also issued a Florida Travel Advisory this week, echoing CHIRLA’s concerns about the state’s anti-immigrant legislation and discriminatory policies.
“With the stroke of a pen, Gov. DeSantis is infringing and assaulting medical freedoms, academic freedoms, attempting to censure and erase LGBTQ+ communities, limiting arts, and sports participation by members of some communities, fomenting racial prejudice, repealing gun safety laws, and frantically attacking immigrant communities,” said Salas.
“In his drive to appeal to the far-right wing of his party, Mr. DeSantis is making Florida an unwelcoming place for any American, and we should all be very concerned. We will continue to energetically work with other organizations to ensure we fight and defeat these discriminatory and divisive measures,” concluded Salas.