Skip to content Skip to footer

Nation’s Oldest, Largest Latino Civil Rights Group Issues FL Emergency Plan

“Don’t let [DeSantis] make Florida the symbol of politically driven racism,” LULAC’s president said in a statement.

Protest sign from an Immigration Policy rally. Sign reads "No Human Being is Illegal"

The League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) has issued an emergency preparedness plan to confront the threat posed by Florida’s SB 1718, an anti-immigrant law which no longer recognizes driver’s licenses issued to undocumented immigrants from other states and criminalizes the transportation of undocumented workers across state lines into Florida.

“LULAC is ready to help our immigrant community confront this malicious threat led by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis,” Domingo Garcia, LULAC’s national president said in a statement. “Knowledge is our greatest daily defense to protecting families and individuals from being targeted by hateful racial policies. Children still need to go to school. Parents still have to work to put food on their tables, and seniors and the infirm still need medical care.”

LULAC’s safety tips for Latinos in Florida include executing an emergency plan in case of detainment or deportation, determining who will care and pick up children while the emergency plan is in motion, securing an immigration lawyer, and preparing legal documents granting power of attorney over their children so that someone who is trusted will be authorized to make decisions regarding their schooling, medical care and living arrangements in the event of the parent’s detainment.

After SB 1718 went into effect in July, protests erupted across the state and prompted LULAC and The Florida Immigrant Coalition (FIC) to issue travel advisories for the state. While many immigrants have fled the state in the past few months because of the enactment of this draconian anti-immigrant law, those who decided to stay have continued to fight for their rights.

“There is no Florida without us, and we’re here to stay. ¡Aqui estamos y no nos vamos,” WeCount!, an immigrant rights organization, said on social media.

Civil rights organizations, including the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), American Civil Liberties Union, ACLU of Florida, Americans for Immigrant Justice and American Immigration Council, immediately challenged the anti-immigrant law in court.

“This harmful anti-immigrant bill is unconstitutional, xenophobic and will increase the unlawful racial profiling of Florida’s Black and Brown communities. Admittedly designed to inflict cruelty, SB 1718 is unconstitutional and undermines our democracy,” Paul R. Chavez, senior supervising attorney with the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Immigrant Justice Project, said in a statement. “This lawsuit will vindicate all of our constitutional rights, and we remain committed to ensuring that immigrants are treated fairly, equally and with dignity. Such an ugly attack on our immigrant community will not stand.”

Last month, the civil rights groups filed a motion for a preliminary injunction to block Section 10 of the law, which criminalizes the transportation of immigrants into the state who may have entered the country unlawfully. While this lawsuit progresses, LULAC is also considering “all legal options against the state and for any racial profiling by law enforcement” which target immigrant communities while this law is in effect.

“We call upon every good-hearted American to stand with LULAC in telling Governor DeSantis BASTA!” Garcia said in a statement. “Stop the hate, and don’t let him make Florida the symbol of politically driven racism and ignorance.”