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NAACP warns people not to travel to Florida because of ‘racist’ DeSantis policies

By Jimmy Adeel
|
May 22, 2023

Two leading civil rights groups have recently cautioned against traveling to Florida due to what they describe as an alarming political environment.

The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), alongside the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), expressed concerns over policies instituted by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, as reported by the Miami Herald.

NAACP Expresses Concern over Education Policies

This past weekend, the NAACP issued its travel advisory, highlighting several recent moves by DeSantis. These include efforts to ban specific books, dismiss the Advanced Placement African American Studies course, and limit diversity, equity, and inclusion programs in Florida's colleges.

According to the NAACP, these developments signal a state "openly hostile" to African Americans, people of color, and LGBTQ+ individuals.

"Before traveling to Florida, please understand that the state of Florida devalues and marginalizes the contributions of and the challenges faced by African Americans and other communities of color,” states the NAACP advisory.

Accusations of ‘Hate-inspired’ Leadership

NAACP President Derrick Johnson has been vocal in his criticism of the current Florida administration. He asserts that DeSantis is "unrelentingly attacking fundamental freedoms," adding that failing to accurately represent the racial inequalities in American history to students is a disservice and neglect of duty.

The organization has taken an active stance against the government's policies, distributing thousands of books related to race that had been prohibited to communities of color across the state.

"In an attempt to appeal to an extremist minority, hate-inspired state leaders have once again chosen to put politics over people," declared NAACP Chair Leon Russell in a statement. He accused DeSantis and the state of Florida of undermining principles of diversity and inclusion.

LULAC Advisory Targets Immigration Policies

LULAC also recently issued a travel advisory for the Sunshine State, advising immigrants to avoid the region due to new measures on immigration by DeSantis.

DeSantis recently enacted a bill that restricts undocumented migrant labor, terminates community-funded initiatives that provide ID cards to undocumented immigrants, and imposes stricter penalties on those who bring undocumented immigrants into the state.

"If you bring your aunt to Disney World... to Miami or Universal Studios, they are going to charge you with a felony for bringing your undocumented friend or relative to Florida," warned LULAC President Domingo Garcia.

Measures Taken by Florida to Curb Immigration

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed Senate Bill 1718 into law on May 10, considered the country's strongest anti-illegal immigration legislation.

The bill requires any employer with 25 or more employees to use E-Verify and imposes enforceable penalties on individuals transporting undocumented immigrants into Florida.

The law also allocates $12 million for DeSantis’ migrant relocation initiative, which drew national attention last year. In a move to protest federal immigration policy, the governor transported a group of South American migrants from Texas to Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts.

Florida Under Scrutiny

Critics of DeSantis' immigration policies argue that they're harmful and will create a chilling effect on the immigrant community in Florida. Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador called the bill "immoral" and "politicking." The bill has faced condemnation from immigration advocates and other rights groups.

However, DeSantis has defended the law, framing it as a counter to President Joe Biden's border policy and stating it is intended to protect Floridians, CBS News reported.

"We won't turn a blind eye to the dangers of Biden's Border Crisis. We will continue to take steps to protect Floridians from reckless federal open-border policies," said DeSantis.