DeSantis-Supported Bill Concerns Some Religious Groups

Gage Skidmore from Surprise, AZ, United States of America, CC BY-SA 2.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

( – Latino evangelicals and additional groups have been criticizing an immigration bill that’s intended to crack down on the transportation of people who might be illegally in the United States, according to NBC News.

The bill, SB1718 was introduced by Florida state Sen. Blaise Ingoglia of Spring Hill, and it is a portion of a general effort from Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and other Republicans to strike harder against immigration. However, this new bill has led to many church leaders and communities being worried about what effect this bill would have on their pastoral work and practices.

According to the bill, a person who transports undocumented immigrants within or into the state will face third-degree felony charges. However, according to Gabriel Salguero, pastor of the Gathering Place, the bill is going to “criminalize” the work of the church. Salguero is the person who established the National Latino Evangelical Coalition.

In a statement to NBC News, Salguero pointed out that they had schools, Sunday schools, soup kitchens, and church vans that often serve undocumented individuals. He added that in order for the immigrants to gain access to those, they often need to be transported. He continued to state that sometimes they would even help them get transported to meet their lawyer. However, with this new bill, all of these actions would become illegal. Therefore, he believes this bill could get in the way of church workers fulfilling their pastoral duties.

The Florida Senate Rules Committee voted 15-5 on the legislation back in March.

Copyright 2023,