An organization that supports the immigrant community is concerned about the possibility of an immigration bill being approved.

Members of the Guatemalan Mayan community and other immigrants gathered to protest and explain the risks of the immigration bill currently being discussed in Tallahassee.

Certain points of these Senate and House of Representatives bills which have been defined as -SB 1718 and HB 1617- prohibit the use of driver’s licenses issued in other states and oblige hospitals to request private data , including immigration status.

These bills also propose to criminalize transporting or harboring people without immigration documents, while prohibiting local governments from providing funds to issue community ID cards.

Mariana Blanco of Centro Maya Guatemalteco talks about some of the risks these immigrants would face if the bill were approved: “Instead of promoting health and helping someone who goes to the hospital, the first thing they going to ask is the status then which will not only cause fear in the community and they will no longer want to go to the hospital or ER, but it will also limit the medical access they went to receive that day.

If approved, this bill would affect thousands of immigrants, which has sparked discussion among migrant families with US-born children.

Sonia Moreno of the Florida Immigrant Coalition says it takes “courage and bravery to have these kinds of conversations with them, and tell them that if this law passes in the state of Florida, they’ll probably be forced to continue their future alone or go to a country that does not belong to them”.

Immigration lawyer John de la Vega believes there will be an exodus of immigrants if this bill is approved.

“I would imagine that a fairly large percentage of undocumented immigrants in Florida are going to want to leave the state and that could affect everything, it will affect communities. It will affect our economy, everything that has to do with facets of the life here in the state can be negatively affected because they want to keep them in the shadows and don’t realize the positive part and all that they can bring to the community,” says John de la Vega.

What the leaders of the Guatemalan center have made clear is that they will continue to work, defend and help the entire immigrant community.

Categorized in: