Florida immigration legislation clears first House Committee

Published: Feb. 3, 2022 at 6:03 PM CST
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TALLAHASEE, Fla. (CAPITOL NEWS SERVICE) - Legislation aimed at ending midnight flights of immigrants into Florida cleared its first House Committee today in the state capitol. The state can’t stop those who transport the immigrants, but it can stop the companies from doing business with the state or local governments.

The staff analysis for House Bill 1355, says that 78 charter flights carrying unaccompanied children landed at Jacksonville International during a six month period last year.

“A number of children have been locked on airplanes in the middle of the night and left on tarmac’s,” Sponsor John Snyder said.

“There are individuals from every corner of the earth that know, if you can make it to Mexico, there’s an open ticket,” Snyder added.

The bill goes after common carriers, those who transport people for money, from getting state or local contracts if they were hired to transport immigrants who were apprehended at the border.

“How many contracts like that are in force?” Democrat Gearldine Thompson asked.

“We don’t know what we don’t know” Snyder responded.

Advocate Karen Woodall told lawmakers the Feds are just following the law.

“The transport is not illegal. It’s required by Federal law.”

“Why are you attacking kids who look like me?” 12-Year-Old Zachery asked. “Kids, we’re just kids.”

Yenniser Molina, Zachery’s mother, was near tears.

“We’re here to provide for our families. We don’t want to do any harm. We love it here,” Molina said.

The bill was approved 12 to five. The legislation did garner the vote of one Democrat.

The legislation is one of the Governor’s top priorities.