Senator Joe Gruters Takes Input From Far-Right Hate Group On Anti-Immigration Bill

The Chair of the Sarasota County Democratic Party blasted State Senator Joe Gruters for relying on input from a far-right racist hate group to draft anti-immigrant legislation now making its way through the Florida Senate.

“Joe Gruters relied on the Federation of American Immigration Reform (FAIR), a group exposed by the Southern Poverty Law Center as a ‘hate group,” to draft the so-called ‘Sanctuary City’ bill, SB 168,” said JoAnne DeVries, chair of the local party.  “This bill will separate immigrant families and tear communities apart. It is an outrage,” she added, “that Senator Gruters received counsel on this bill from such an outlier group, which cares nothing about human rights and families.”

Cramer Verde, chair of the Hispanic Caucus of the Sarasota County Democratic Party, said, “If these allegations are true, Florida’s Hispanic community will regard this anti-immigration bill as even more hateful than a plain reading of it reveals.  How can we have any trust in police enforcement knowing that the leader of a racist ‘hate group” helped craft this bill’s provisions giving more powers to local police?”

This is not the first time that Sarasota Republicans have been called out for their association with far-right hate groups.  Last year it was reported by the Sarasota Herald Tribune that a member of the GOP’s executive committee, Peter Gemma, had links to racist groups, Holocaust deniers, and white nationalists. He was also the subject of a Southern Poverty Law Center Report.  Gemma was later removed from the local Republican Executive Committee.

**Read more in the Herald Tribune:

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Sarasota County Democratic Party