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Farmworker Association hosts Know Your Rights panel in Apopka after new immigration law passes

Farmworker Association Director Neza Xiuhtecutli says the goal of the meeting was to assuage people’s fears, and empower them with information.
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Farmworker Association Director Neza Xiuhtecutli says the goal of the meeting was to assuage people’s fears, and empower them with information.

Racial profiling is a major concern amongst some Spanish speaking Central Florida immigrants with just over a month to go until the state’s new immigration laws go into effect.

Last night, around 100 or so people gathered at the Farmworker Association in Apopka to hear from local law enforcement, lawyers, and medical professionals.

The law makes it illegal to transport undocumented people across state lines and requires hospitals to collect data on whether patients are undocumented, among other things.

Farmworker Association of Florida Director Neza Xiuhtecutli said the goal of the meeting was to assuage people’s fears, and empower them with information.

“I think there isn't a lot of information available in Spanish," said Xiuhtecutli. "But I would say there also isn't a lot of information available in English, because we've also had employers and growers come to us asking us to help them make sense of the law and asking us to come talk to their employees. So I just think that in general, there's a lot of confusion about what this law means for everybody.”

The Association's treasurer Jose Rodriguez said people are scared after the passage of SB 1718, but that doesn’t mean they’re giving up either.

“Basically, people are hopeful, people are afraid of being profiled. But we're here to let them know not to be frightened," said Rodriguez. "And just to keep going on with your regular life. A lot of people are for sure moving out of the state. Most of the people are going to stick through it and hopefully, this is going to change.” 

Truckers and farmworkers are expected to stage walkouts throughout Florida on June 1stto protest the law.

The League of United Latin American Citizens passed a travel advisory warning people against coming to the state amidst the new law.

Danielle Prieur is WMFE's education reporter.
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