MIAMI (CBSMiami/NSF) – A bill approved Tuesday would make it harder for refugees who flee areas where terrorists train or originate to settle in Florida.READ MORE: Miami Weather: Cooler And Drier Air Set To Move Into South Florida
With supporters warning of terrorism threats, the House Justice Appropriations Subcommittee voted 9-3 along party lines to back the bill which is sponsored by Rep. Lake Ray, R-Jacksonville.
The bill, in part, would prevent the state and local governments from cooperating in the resettlement of “restricted” people without authorization from the governor. Such “restricted” people would come from areas designated as where “invaders or prospective invaders” or foreign terrorist organizations organize, operate or train.
Ray cited concerns after terrorist attacks in Paris and San Bernandino, Calif.READ MORE: Assisted Living Facility In Lauderhill May Lose License After Woman Dies
“The truth of the matter is that there are people in the world that want to kill Americans,” said Rep. Chris Latvala, R-Clearwater. “They hate us, and they hate everything that we stand for. If they could, they’d kill everybody in this room simply because of where we live.”
But critics questioned the constitutionality of the bill because immigration is governed by federal law.
“It is disappointing to see a bill labeling those escaping certain zones as potential invaders,” said Francesca Menes of the Florida Immigrant Coalition. “Florida, again, is attempting to enter a realm it has no authority to enforce.”
The bill still would need approval from the House State Affairs Committee before it could go to the full House. A Senate version (SB 1712), filed by Sen. Wilton Simpson, R-Trilby, has not been heard.MORE NEWS: Art Miami Returns For 31st Edition, With More Than 130 Exhibitors, Nov 30 - Dec 5
The News Service of Florida contributed to this report.