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Video shows Florida Republican begging Latinos not to leave

In the footage, a Florida lawmaker urges meeting attendees to tell fellow Latinos not to leave the state over the new immigration law signed by Gov. Ron DeSantis.


Florida Republicans concerned about the state’s new anti-immigration law and its potential impacts on Florida’s economy are seen in newly revealed footage urging Latinos not to leave the state.

The footage adds to growing evidence that the law, heavily pushed by Gov. Ron DeSantis as he launched his bid for the Republican presidential nomination, will have downstream impacts on the state economy.

We at “The ReidOut” have been warning Floridians about the looming consequences of their governor’s bigoted agenda for months. (If you’d like a refresher, check out this post from Joy or this post from me.)

The immigration law, Senate Bill 1718, has been condemned by activists, religious groups and even Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador. It will take effect July 1.

In the new footage, shared online by Democratic activist Thomas Kennedy, we see two Republican members of the Florida Legislature trying to downplay the law’s harms. One of them begs the meeting’s attendees to tell Latinos not to leave Florida.

“This bill is 100% supposed to scare you,” says state Rep. Rick Roth, who intermittently waits on a translator to relay his words in Spanish. “I’m a farmer, and the farmers are mad as hell. We are losing employees. They’re already starting to move to Georgia and other states. It’s urgent that you talk to all your people and convince them that you have resources — state representatives and other people — that can explain the bill to you.”

Roth then randomly pivots to professing his adoration for both DeSantis and Donald Trump. 

“We had the best president in my life — in the last 30 years — and I’m still supporting Donald Trump. I love my governor. He’s the greatest governor in,” he’s heard saying before the clip cuts off. 

In another clip, Roth claims the law is “more of a political bill than it is policy” — before quickly conceding that the legislation (controversially, I might add) gives state police more authority over immigration enforcement.

It’s clear why this is gross, no? Here, we have an old white man complaining about a cruel anti-immigration law — not in terms of what it means for the people suffering under it, but in terms of what it means for farmers, himself included, who rely on some of these people for labor. I don’t expect any Florida Republican to have even a modicum of self-awareness, but even by those standards, this was remarkably cruel.

In another clip Kennedy shared, another Florida Republican claims the bill is meant “to scare people from coming to the state of Florida, and I think that it’s done its purpose.” The lawmaker, state Rep. Alina Garcia, goes on to falsely claim the bill “really doesn’t have any teeth,” a line I’m sure she didn’t run by Team DeSantis. 

Garcia also notes her view, as someone who immigrated to the U.S. from Cuba when she was 2 years old, that “we need to have legal immigration.” (Note: Cuban Americans have, over several decades, benefited from sympathetic immigration policies in the U.S. that Garcia and her Republican colleagues clearly don’t want to extend to present-day migrants from other countries.)

There’s a popular phrase that goes, “If only I could be a fly on the wall.” Well, these videos essentially give us a front-row seat to the latest right-wing spin cycle in Florida.

The DeSantis campaign is chugging right along! Off a cliff, it seems.