By Mary Moreno
The Florida legislature is currently considering two anti-immigrant bills that would encourage racial profiling by authorizing local law enforcement to investigate the legal status of people charged with offenses as minor as a traffic violations or who are part of an investigation. Neither version has been heard on the floor, so it’s unclear which has a better chance of passing.
Of course, we don’t support racial profiling, and therefore, either bill. Today, FIRM issued a statement saying it would join the national movement to stop vacationing in Florida if either bill becomes law. Florida of all states should be the most welcoming of all immigrants; it was immigrants who made Florida the prosperous, thriving state it is today. People flock to Florida not only for its beaches but because of its cultural diversity, worldly music and international cuisine.
Following Arizona’s path is wrong for Florida. Arizona made a difficult economic downturn even worse by passing SB 1070, which was then enjoined by a federal court stopping the enactment of the provisions Florida now seeks to copy. But the damage to Arizona’s reputation and by consequence, its economy, was done; damage that will take years to undo. Florida should learn from Arizona’s mistakes. The Sunshine State gets a lot more business from tourism than does Arizona so it stands to lose a lot more for a law that most likely will not be enforceable.
You, too, can pledge not to spend your vacation there. Send lawmakers in Florida a message they will understand, with our wallets and pocketbooks. Take the pledge not to visit a Florida that engages in racial profiling.