Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis Signs Bill into Law Banning Sanctuary Cities in State
Republican governor fulfils pledge to fight illegal immigration, marking big win for ICE
As expected, Florida's Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a new bill into law Friday, banning sanctuary cities from forming in the state.
Governor DeSantis fulfilled his campaign pledge to tackle the migrant crisis, marking a big win for ICE and the fight against illegal immigration.
At a ceremony in the Okaloosa County Board of Commissioners alongside Florida GOP Rep. Matt Gaetz, DeSantis signed the SB 168 bill into state law.
The legislation requires state and local governments to cooperate with federal immigration authorities and honor retainers made by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
Most notably, the bill prohibits local governments from adopting “sanctuary city” policies to protect illegal immigrants, meaning they are required to notify ICE when an individual who is subject to a detainer is released from the custody of local law enforcement.
“Earlier this year, Governor DeSantis asked the Florida Legislature to present him with meaningful legislation 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 spokeswoman Helen Ferre wrote in a Thursday email, according to Wesh 2.
“Public safety is paramount and local law enforcement agencies can and should work with the federal government to ensure that accountability and justice are one in our state,” Ferre continued.
According to the Daily Caller, DeSantis’s bill signing marks a further divide in how conservative and liberal states deal with federal immigration enforcement.
Ten states — Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Iowa, Arizona, Texas, North Carolina, Mississippi, Tennessee, and Missouri — have laws that mandate state and local governments help ICE apprehend suspected illegal immigrants.
On the other hand, a growing number of blue-leaning states have passed laws that strictly prohibit local law enforcement from honoring ICE detainers.
While ICE made it clear that they do not take positions on specific legislation, the agency reiterated the consequences to public safety when local officials refuse to cooperate with their efforts.
“U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) places detainers on individuals who have been arrested on local criminal charges and who are suspected of being deportable so that ICE can take custody of that person when he or she is released from local custody,” ICE said in a statement to The Daily Caller News Foundation on Friday.
"When law enforcement agencies fail to honor immigration detainers and release serious criminal offenders onto the streets, it undermines ICE’s ability to protect public safety and carry out its mission.
Controversial sanctuary policies are adamantly opposed by immigration hawks and by federal immigration authorities themselves, who claim such laws make it much harder to do their job.
The Florida anti-sanctuary bill was considered contentious when it was debated in the state legislature.
Opponents questioned the necessity of the bill, pointing out that Florida currently has no sanctuary cities.
The bill ultimately passed the state House by 68-45 and the state Senate by 22-18 despite facing stiff pushback from Democrats and immigration-rights groups.