A bill aimed at increasing immigration enforcement in Florida has cleared a House panel.
State Rep. John Snyder's bill would prevent local governments from contracting with businesses that transport undocumented migrants who've entered the country illegally.
"What this bill is about is about a federal government that has completely relinquished control of the Southern border."
The Martin County Republican says the Biden Administration has allowed the border to be an "open stream" and that "there are individuals from every corner of the Earth that know if you can make it to Mexico there's an open ticket."
Snyder faced some contentious debate on the Criminal Justice and Public Safety Subcommittee, with some elected Democrats pointing out that nobody from law enforcement was there to speak in favor of the bill.
A long list of people traveled to Tallahassee to speak against the bill, including a man who called it "anti-immigrant legislation."
Orange County Democrat State Rep. Geraldine Thompson went so far as to say HB1355 is all about the governor's ambitions for a 2024 White House bid.
"I think that this is a guise for a presidential election and it is beyond what we're supposed to do as state legislators."
Gov. Ron DeSantis requested the legislation after learning that the federal government was flying illegal border crossers into our state in the middle of the night. There was even pushback by opponents of the bill regarding that.
Ida Eskamani with the Florida Immigrant Coalition said the flights occur at night for logistics purposes, since they are public airports.
Ultimately, the bill passed by a 12-5, mostly along party lines though at least one Democrat voted in favor of it.
HB1355 has two more House committees to go before it would get a floor vote in the full House.
A companion bill sponsored by North Florida Republican Senator Aaron Bean has also cleared one committee.