In the Media.

Voices with Jawan Strader   : A Conversation About Politics and Representation, WTVJ NBC Channel 6,  January 27, 2019

Voices with Jawan Strader: A Conversation About Politics and Representation, WTVJ NBC Channel 6, January 27, 2019



Several bills anti-immigration bills were proposed during the 2017 Legislative Session. All of them died.

“In a moment where hatred and discrimination is being normalized, our immigrant, Muslim and communities of colors stood together fighting back nine bills seeking to criminalize our families and legalize racial profiling in Florida,” said Francesca Menes, the director of policy and advocacy for the Florida Immigrant Coalition.

Lawmakers proposed several bills this session that would have targeted undocumented immigrants by upgrading penalties for violent crimes committed by undocumented immigrants; stripping funding for local governments that don’t comply with federal immigration authorities; repeal a state law giving in-state tuition to some undocumented immigrants; increase background checks on refugees; and require employees to make sure employees are documented.


Francesca Menes said the Florida Immigrant Coalition is exploring possible legal challenges to the bill. “It’s the simple fact that if you are undocumented and you commit a violent offense, that alone gives a reason for your penalties to be enhanced,” said Menes.

“That’s almost going as far a stretch as, if you are a black person and you commit a particular crime, then because you are a black individual, your penalties would be enhanced. What are the floodgates that we’re opening that based on who the person is, we’re going to increase their penalties?”

“We are tired of having the same conversation with our legislators, as if we — as immigrants — do not contribute to the state of Florida,” said Francesca Menes, policy and advocacy director for the Florida Immigrant Coalition. “We contribute economically to the state of Florida. Our families are here, and we are here to stay.”

“[We are] standing here, demanding that we stop all of this, because our families are sick and tired of being threatened of being separated,” Menes said.

Menes blasted President Donald Trump for being a “bully who is threatening to take away our funding.” (Trump signed executive orders earlier this year ordering the Department of Homeland Security to stop funding communities that were deemed “sanctuaries” for undocumented immigrants.)

Francesca Menes, director of policy and advocacy for the Florida Immigrant Coalition, disagreed with Eagle.

"As an undocumented immigrant, you do have constitutional rights here in the United States," she said, "and that has been said over and over in the courts, that they do have constitutional rights."

We found that undocumented immigrants do have constitutional rights -- but not all of the rights of citizens. (We have previously fact-checked a claim about whether unlawful presence in the United States is not a crime, a claim we ruled Mostly True.)

“[We are] trying to make the case, and trying to make the U.S. government understand the reasoning behind extending Temporary Protective Status for Haitians. Understanding the conditions that actually designated Haiti to TPS which was the earthquake, and then from there, we have the cholera outbreak and from there we have Hurricane Matthew,  which as the cholera outbreak was starting to ascend itself, it actually increased and started to go out into the country,” Francesca Menes said.