Florida Says Adios To 'Sanctuary City' Declarations

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Posted: Jun 15, 2019 2:30 PM
Florida Says Adios To 'Sanctuary City' Declarations

Source: AP Photo/John Raoux

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) on Friday signed a controversial bill that prevents cities throughout the Sunshine State to declare themselves "sanctuary cities." Instead, the bill mandates cities and law enforcement personnel cooperate with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

“I am proud to sign the bill presented to me by the Florida Legislature to uphold the rule of law and ensure that no city or county jurisdiction can get in the way of Florida’s cooperation with our federal partners to enforce immigration law," DeSantis said in a statement on Friday. "This is about public safety, not about politics. We must do everything within our power, and use all the tools available to us, to ensure that our communities are safe.”

Senate Bill 168 gives Gov. DeSantis and Attorney General Ashley Moody the authority to "initiate enforcement actions" against cities and municipalities who decide to ignore the law. The bill also requires any current cities that have enacted sanctuary policies to repeal those declarations.

Sanctuary cities received major focus after Kate Steinle was killed in 2015 while walking with her father on a San Francisco bridge. Her killer was someone who had been deported back to Mexico five different times, primarily for varying levels of drug offenses. ICE had provided the San Francisco Police Department with a detainer request, which asks the local authorities to keep the person in custody until an ICE agent is able to retrieve the illegal alien. Because San Francisco is a "sanctuary city" for illegal aliens, the police department ignored the detainer request and released him from jail.

Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL), who represents the area, is supportive of the law because it protects the public's safety. During the signing, he delivered a speech about the crisis at the border:

We need more state legislatures and governors to stand up and say "enough is enough." Local law enforcement has a duty and a responsibility to report illegal aliens to ICE. We don't know who these people are, what their history or background is. We don't know if they've committed a crime or not. And we're supposed to catch them and release them into our communities? If ICE wants them in custody, it's for a good reason. We need to let these agents do their jobs to the best of their abilities. They can't do their job if local authorities aren't doing theirs.