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Anti-Immigrant Bills SB 168 and HB 527 Would Be a Disaster for Florida's Businesses and Economy

This week, the anti-immigrant bill SB 168 sponsored by Republican Senator and Florida GOP Chair Joe Gruters, and the companion bill HB 527, were approved in party line committee votes and are now headed to the House and Senate floor. In recent weeks, a broad coalition of business leaders, advocates, law enforcement, and elected officials have made clear that if passed, SB 168 would result in the loss of millions of dollars in state and local taxes, lower the state’s GDP, and have catastrophic consequences for Florida’s tourism and agriculture economy.

Florida Democratic Party Chair Terrie Rizzo released the following statement:

“By passing this disastrous bill, Republicans are attacking the fundamentals of Florida’s economy: agriculture and tourism. Studies have shown that the impact on these two sectors will be disastrous for our state. SB 168 will result in the loss of millions in local and state taxes, lower Florida’s GDP, and harm our tourism industry. If Republicans care about our state’s economy, they would oppose this bill. But the Republican Party of 2019 doesn’t care about supporting Florida businesses, they’re only interested in following Ron DeSantis and Donald Trump’s anti-immigrant and extreme agenda.”

Nikki Fried, Florida’s Commissioner of Agriculture and Consumer Services: Florida SB 168, regarding ‘sanctuary cities,’ is a symbolic solution to a fictional problem.
“I’ve gained an appreciation of what agriculture means to our state. It’s honest work. It’s tiring work. And most of the time, it’s thankless work. Behind only tourism, it’s the backbone of Florida’s economy. I’ve also learned that over 54 percent of Florida’s immigrants work in farming, fishing, or forestry. They make up more than 45 percent of the workforce in those industries. And targeting immigrants would create lasting damage to businesses and industries throughout our state’s economy.”

120+ of Florida’s business leaders are uniting in opposition to SB 168, HB 527, and other anti-immigrant legislation.
“With unemployment at near-record lows, Florida’s economy cannot afford this harmful legislation. According to a new NAE study, 85.8 percent of undocumented immigrants in Florida are of working age (ages 16-64), and pay $1.7 billion each year in taxes. SB 168 could result in a 10 percent immigrant exodus from Florida to deliver an annual loss of $121.4M in taxes and $3.5B in GDP, threatening the economic prosperity and safety of all Floridians.”

SB 168 is anti-business, anti-immigrant and threatens the safety of all Floridians.
“Florida accounts for 56 percent of U.S. citrus production and ranks second in value of vegetable production. We did not get to where we are alone. Much of our success is a result of the entrepreneurship, optimism and innovative spirit of hardworking immigrants. Policies like SB 168 will drive away agriculture’s labor force and leave Florida farmers without options.”

Tourism will plummet if anti-immigrant bills get nod from lawmakers.
“Florida businesses and the state’s economy cannot afford this. It could cost the state more than $3.5 billion in GDP in just one year and an estimated loss of 44,598 workers whose departure will reflect a $1.4 billion loss in wage earnings, according to a study by the American Business and Immigration coalition and the Immigration & Partnership Fund.”

Senator Victor Torres: SB 168 insults Florida’s history as a state that welcomes immigrants.
“By thrusting more responsibilities on local police officers, SB 168 also burdens the brave men and women working hard to keep us all safer. They already work full weeks, plus overtime. More time spent on the job is more time away from loved ones, missing holidays, sporting events and dance recitals. We are in debt to those who serve our country, domestically and abroad. This is no way to show gratitude for their risk and sacrifice.”

Miami police chief denounces anti-sanctuary bill: “I don’t care if you have papers or don’t have papers… My job is to make sure everyone in this city is safe.”
Chief Jorge Colina: “I don’t care if you have papers or don’t have papers, where you came from, or who your parents are. That’s not my job. My job is to make sure everyone in this city is safe.”

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