In one of the most decisive pushbacks against illegal immigration taken recently on the state level, the Florida Legislature passed a bill this week that would ban any city from adopting sanctuary policies. The bill, which is essentially the opposite of laws passed in California last year, would not only allow local law enforcement officials to cooperate with federal immigration authorities, it would require it. Observers expect that Gov. Ron DeSantis (R), a vocal supporter of the bill, will sign it into law in the coming days.
“We are a stronger state,” DeSantis said, “when we protect our residents, foster safe communities and respect the work of law enforcement at every level.”
If signed into law, the bill will make so local officials have to comply with ICE detainer requests. This means that if an illegal alien is arrested and jailed on a crime, jailers and local police must hold them for deportation if the federal government makes the request. The bill will provide exemptions for crime victims and trial witnesses, but it will require local officials to notify ICE if a detainee subject to deportation is released.
Critics have said the legislation is an unnecessary political statement given the fact that no Florida city or county has sanctuary policies in place. Nonetheless, Republicans insist that it is an important preemptive step in a landscape where so many sanctuary cities have popped up on the map. They also insist that there is nothing bigoted or anti-immigrant about the law.
“This bill isn’t anti-immigrant,” said Rep. Elizabeth Fetterhoff, “and it’s dangerously disingenuous to suggest otherwise. We are a nation of immigrants, proudly so. But we are also a nation of laws.”
Speaking of dangerously disingenuous, there is the Florida ACLU, which released an alarmist statement warning people not to travel to the Sunshine State.
“If Florida State Bill 168 and House Bill 527 pass, it would undermine local governments’ ability to protect the civil rights of their residents by forcing local officials to cooperate with ICE,” the ACLU wrote. “It would also put immigrants at risk of violence, potentially forcing victims and witnesses to stay silent for fear of deportation. Both Florida residents, citizens and non-citizens, and travelers could face risks of being racially profiled and being detained without probable cause.”
Ridiculous. This statement basically amounts to: “Oh watch out, Florida law enforcement officials are actually going to enforce the law! Beware! Beware!!”
It is not within an illegal immigrant’s “civil liberties” to flaunt the laws governing our borders with impunity. That’s what Florida Republicans get that California Democrats don’t. God help us if our nation follows the example of the latter and not the former.