ACLU Issues Florida Travel Advisory, Warning Immigrants of 'Possible Violation of Their Constitutional Rights'

The American Civil Liberties Union and other civil rights organizations issued a travel advisory for Florida on Monday, warning that immigrants could have their constitutional rights violated by legislation the state is considering.

"BREAKING: We and partners have issued a travel advisory urging immigrants and people of color to use extreme caution when traveling in Florida. The state is on the verge of passing a draconian anti-immigrant bill which will endanger our communities," the ACLU tweeted.

The bills the state Legislature is considering take aim at sanctuary policies seeking to protect undocumented immigrants. Sanctuary cities, such as New York and San Francisco, institute policies to limit cooperation with federal immigration enforcement agencies, such as ICE.

Florida's Senate Bill 168 and House Bill 527 seek to prohibit local and state governmental entities from implementing sanctuary policies and force cooperation with federal immigration authorities. The legislation would mandate that agencies send requested information to federal authorities.

A news release from the ACLU of Florida warned that these bills would result in an "irreparable human cost" and "expose counties and other government entities to potential legal and financial liabilities by forcing local authorities to comply with ICE's flawed detainer system."

A demonstration demanding that ICE free Daniel Ramirez Medina and stop ICE raid operations and arrests is held in New York in February 2017. rik McGregor/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images

"It's shameful that the state of Florida seeks to further harass immigrant communities and erode public safety," Thomas Kennedy, the political director at the Florida Immigration Coalition, said in the ACLU of Florida's news release. "Taking precious local resources away from law enforcement to further target Floridian families for deportation comes at an extremely high financial and moral cost. The insidious attacks against immigrants on the national level are being amplified by Florida lawmakers pushing for anti-immigrant policies."

Florida House Speaker José Oliva and the bill's co-introducer, Senator Aaron Bean, did not immediately respond to Newsweek's requests for comment.

"You talk about fearmongering and upping the rhetoric even more...that's one way to do it," Senator Joe Gruters, the sponsor of the senate bill, told Newsweek. Gruters said that the ACLU's travel advisory, which he called "borderline race-baiting," was "misguided at best," "

"This deals with criminal illegal aliens. Unless you're breaking the law, you have no worries about this bill. This only deals with illegal aliens who are here, who are being processed by the judicial system," he said. "It's about protecting the rule of law."

President Donald Trump has lashed out at sanctuary cities and previously signed an executive order, which was later struck down by a federal court, to withhold funding from them. The debate about sanctuary cities and compliance with immigration authorities has provoked contentious discussion across the country.

In 2017, the ACLU issued a similar travel advisory for Texas over legislation that required law enforcement agencies to comply with federal authorities. Last year, Tennessee also implemented a bill to withhold money from local governments that have sanctuary policies.

This article has been updated to include comments from Senator Gruters.

ACLU Issues Florida Travel Advisory, Warning Immigrants of 'Possible Violation of Their Constitutional Rights' | U.S.