Proposed Florida Legislation
Passed second Senate committee on February 22, 2017
In the Florida Legislature, a Senate bill was introduced and recently approved by the Appropriations Subcommittee on Civil & Criminal Justice that proposes that certain crimes committed by unlawfully present aliens in the State of Florida be charged differently from all other persons in the state. Illegal immigrants charged with a crime would, under Senate Bill 120, have their charges upgraded to the next criminal offense ranking level only because of their immigrant status. An illegal immigrant charged with a misdemeanor of the first degree would have his criminal charge upgraded to a felony in the third degree. A felony in the second degree would be bumped up to a felony in the first degree. LEARN MORE
The proposed legislation is problematic because it discriminates between people who commit the same criminal act on the basis of their citizenship and immigrant status. The American principle of Equal Protection of the Laws enshrined in the Fourteenth Amendment provides that no “person” may be denied the equal protection of the laws. According to the Florida Department of Corrections, Florida has an inmate population of 99,119. The number of inmates who are undocumented immigrants is 4,754, only 4.8% of the total number of inmates. This bill unfairly targets persons because they are immigrants and impermissibly places the blame for crimes committed on them when the statistics show that crimes are not strictly an immigrant problem. LEARN MORE
- Mexican – American Legal Defense & Education Fund – A nonprofit organization promoting social change in immigrants rights and political access.
- American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) – An information page on immigrant Constitutional issues.
This brief was compiled by Rod Maggay. If you have comments or want to add the name of your organization to this brief, please contact email@example.com.