Immigrant families and supporters speak out against bills

Published: Mar. 25, 2019 at 8:42 PM EDT
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By: Brittany Bedi | WCTV Eyewitness News

March 25, 2019

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) -- More than 200 immigrant families and supporters gathered at the Capitol Monday to speak out against Senate Bill 168 and House Bill 527.

The bills would require local law enforcement, schools, local government and other entities to comply with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. House Bill 527 would also reverse sanctuary policies in place.

People against the bills are concerned that it would discourage communities with undocumented immigrants from seeking help during emergency situations.

Bruna B. Bouhid works for United We Dream Florida, the group speaking out against the bills.

"If they need to call the police for any reason, if a crime's committed, and in their neighborhood, or if they're sexually assaulted, the police officer would not be able to help, they'd have to ask for their papers to make sure they're U.S. citizens," said Bouhid.

"People want to make sure this state is safe for all immigrants, because it doesn't only impact undocumented families. Because if you think about it, every family is a mixed status. There are U.S. citizen children, whose parents are undocumented, that could be separated from their parents if this bill went into effect," said Bouhid.

The group of immigrant supporters from United We Dream Florida took to the fourth floor rotunda to speak about their personal experiences with ICE and deportation.

Idalia Quinteros is a Miami Resident. Her father was delivering food when someone called ICE on him. He was detained by ICE for 30 days.

"Back then, it was an ICE agent, in that building, but with this bill, it's going to be every police officer and every corner where you go. If you go to a hospital, they can ask you. When you walk into school, it can be anybody," said Quinteros. "That separation can happen, and knowing from myself, how it feels to have somebody really important be taken away from your life, I know that it's something inhumane."

The United We Dream group plan to speak with Republican lawmakers over the next few days. They will rally outside the Capitol on Tuesday to call ion legislators to reject the bills.