Nobody talked to us, multiple signatories on immigration letter now say
Image by Florian Pircher from Pixabay

Many actually support bill prohibiting so-called 'sanctuary' policies.

Maybe there’s not as much business opposition to a so-called “sanctuary cities” ban as a letter from suggests.

At least five individuals listed as signatories to a letter slamming the legislation say they were never approached for their views.

Four of those say they are opposed to cities claiming sanctuary status. The fifth had no opinion.

And sources say more may come forward and say the same.

“Nobody contacted me,” said Gary Berrios of My Faith Governs. “I was definitely taken by surprise. And my view is totally the opposite.”

His name appears among 44 business, religious and community letters arguing against passage of legislation as it faced an immediate vote.

The letter, first reported on Florida Politics, criticized bills in the Senate (SB 168) and House (HB 527) requiring local law enforcement in Florida to cooperate with federal immigration officials.

Distributed by, the letter suggests the legislation will hurt Florida’s workforce and mark the state as anti-immigrant.

But within a couple hours of the letter’s release, signatories contacted Florida Politics complaining they were wrongly included in signatories.

By mid-afternoon, a link to the letter no longer worked. officials confirmed the letter had been taken down while they investigated why some signers claimed ignorance.

“Earlier today, issued a letter for which the signature collection was coordinated with our partners at the Florida Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and signed by a group of Florida business leaders opposing SB 168,” said Communications Director Peter Boogaard.

“We recently learned that some of the signatories either did not understand that they were signing onto a formal letter to be issued by or may have been added in error. We are working currently with the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce to clarify what happened. We apologize for any confusion this may have caused and are working to fix the situation.”

Rosie Paulsen, of Rosie Paulsen Enterprises, disagrees with the letter, despite her name appearing on the bottom.

“As a Hispanic immigrant, I feel sanctuary cities hurt my community,” she said. That’s because those immigrants with detainer orders from Immigration and Customs Enforcement are mostly likely criminals—and ones who will disproportionately victimize immigrant communities.

The legislation has plenty of opposition, of course. When a House version passed on Wednesday, the Florida Democratic Party called the bill ‘xenophobic.’ A total of 49 members voted against the bill.

The Senate is expected to hear legislation Thursday.

Abraham Lopez of Abraham Lopez Consulting said he personally held mixed feelings on the legislation. He generally doesn’t like the state issuing restrictions on local governments.

But he would not have signed onto the letter.

“Sanctuary Cities give my community a false sense of security and assurance,” he said. If anything, he’s inclined to ban sanctuary policies as well, but said he wouldn’t take a position on these bills without further study.

Maria Debes, of Combined Insurance, said she’s barely followed the issue at all. She’s not even registered to vote.

“I don’t even know what this is about,” she said. “I cannot have an opinion.”

But Miguel Buitrago, of Spectrum Business, said he supports the bills in the Legislature, despite his name appearing on the letter.

“I don’t sign petitions. I’m against propaganda like that,” he said. “I would not have signed this letter because I am not in favor of any of the things that it says.”

Of course, many of the comments came before officials and Chamber leaders reached out anew to those on the letter.

Lopez said he’s had his name appear on items without his permission before. As a moderate Republican who favors comprehensive immigration reform, some movements list him as a supporter before asking.

“I take offense to the thought anyone can slap a Hispanic leader’s name on some list and not properly vet the issue,” he said.

Jacob Ogles

Jacob Ogles has covered politics in Florida since 2000 for regional outlets including SRQ Magazine in Sarasota, The News-Press in Fort Myers and The Daily Commercial in Leesburg. His work has appeared nationally in The Advocate, Wired and other publications. Events like SRQ’s Where The Votes Are workshops made Ogles one of Southwest Florida’s most respected political analysts, and outlets like WWSB ABC 7 and WSRQ Sarasota have featured his insights. He can be reached at [email protected].


  • Petra Sanchez-Navarro

    April 24, 2019 at 11:18 pm

    I am always baffled at Hispanics that are anti-immigration and feel entitled to self-righteous attitudes with other immigrants…
    Don’t they know that in the eyes of radical Republicans, they are all ‘freaking Mexicans’?
    Floridan Hispanics need to get out of their ‘pueblo’ and live in NY, North Carolina, Iowa or the South.
    Then they will realize that in the eyes of racist people/Republican radicals, ‘we are all rapists and criminals’… even if they want desperately to be ‘Whites’!

    • Harr Sher

      April 25, 2019 at 11:44 pm

      When I see the caravans of Hispanic people I think GREEDY ILLEGALS. Instead of banding together to make their countries of origin better, like my ancestors did. Hence the Revolutionary and Civil wars, they just want to come steal/take anything they can get their greedy hands on from the taxpaying citizens of the USA. Then there are those running a scams here in Hernando county, selling sponsorship’s doing identity theft hiding that tax free money though LLC’s. We also have those that are doing marriage fraud if that’s not bad enough they then claim abuse to fast track green cards. We don’t need sanctuary cities, we need prisons to hold these thieves until we can get them shipped back to their countries of origin. No way should they come before our citizens nor those coming over here the right and legal way.

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