Democratic Lawmakers Criticize Gov. Rick Scott On Separation Policy

Jun 26, 2018

A group of Democratic lawmakers criticized what they say is a slow response from Governor Rick Scott to the Trump administration policy of separating migrant families at the border.

State Representative Javier Fernandez, a Democrat from South Miami, said during a Tuesday conference call that Scott has a track record of being hostile towards immigrants. Fernandez's main concern is to make sure that state resources aren’t used to enforce what Democrats say is a “cruel and inhumane policy.”

Last week, Scott issued a statement saying he opposes the Trump administration policy but blamed Washington at large. 

“Governor Scott is proud that Florida is an amazing melting pot where over 250 languages are spoken," said spokesperson McKinley Lewis in a statement. "As Governor, he works every day so that Florida is the most welcoming state for everyone from all around the world and brags often of the strength and pride Florida has in our incredible diversity.”

The call comes after hundreds of protestors gathered to rally last weekend at a Homestead detention center, where more than 1,100 children—70 of whom have been separated from their parents after crossing the Mexico border illegally—are being held.

Immigrant children are also being held at facilities in Miami Gardens and Cutler Bay, both of which house what the Trump administration refers to as “tender age children” who are as young as newborns.

Fernandez said immigration has buoyed Florida’s economy, especially in Miami-Dade County.

“It’s been a main beneficiary of both the talent and the resources brought ... by foreign born residents who have emigrated here," he said, "in some cases seeking asylum from violence at the hands of oppressive regimes.”

This story has been updated with comment from Gov. Rick Scotts Office.