BRADENTON — An Arizona-style immigration reform bill filed by state Sen. Mike Bennett will lead to racial profiling of Hispanics and cost Florida billions, civil rights activists told the Manatee County legislative delegation Tuesday.
Bradenton attorney C.J. Czaia and county Democratic Executive Committee Chairman Richard O’Brien urged Bennett and six other state legislators to reject proposals that allow police to demand citizenship documentation while enforcing other laws.
Czaia, an American citizen raised in what is now Sri Lanka, said Bennett’s bill would encourage racial profiling by giving law enforcement the power to seek citizenship papers for “reasonable suspicion.”
That could ensnare people just because they have brown skin or speak Spanish, he said.
It would lead potential tourists from Mexico, Central America and South America to abandon Florida as a destination and cripple businesses that depend on immigrant labor, according to Czaia.
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