Advocates for immigrants denounce Florida bill creating migrant transportation program
Advocates for immigrants gathered in Apopka Tuesday to denounce a Republican bill creating a $10 million state program to transport migrants to and from anywhere in the U.S.
The bill -- House Bill 5B with its Senate companion -- is part of a legislative special session that started this week.
The bill's sponsor in the House of Representatives, Rep. John Snyder of Stuart, told a committee Monday that the program, called the Unauthorized Alien Transport Program, gives the governor flexibility to address an immigration crisis. Snyder said it will take migrants released by U.S. officials to so-called "sanctuary cities" that welcome them.
Those migrants remain in the U.S. lawfully while their asylum cases are pending.
Tessa Petit, executive director of the Florida Immigrant Coalition, said lawmakers should have other priorities.
"We urge immigrants who are now new American voters and who have chosen people to represent them and be their voices to speak up and let them know these are not our priorities, immigrants are not our enemies," she said at Tuesday's press conference.
Opponents say the program will create more “political stunts” by Gov. Ron DeSantis that end up hurting migrant families.