by Jason Hopkins
Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis signed legislation into law Friday that bans “sanctuary cities” in the state, fulfilling a pledge he made while on the campaign trail.
DeSantis — at a ceremony in the Okaloosa County Board of Commissioners alongside Florida GOP Rep. Matt Gaetz — added his signature to SB 168. The bill requires state and local governments to honor retainers made by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), and to cooperate with federal immigration authorities.
Furthermore, the bill prohibits local governments from adopting “sanctuary” policies that protect illegal immigrants, requiring them to notify ICE when an individual subject to a detainer is released from their custody.
“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,” Helen Ferre, a DeSantis spokeswoman, 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.
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. Colorado and Washington, both states run by Democratic-controlled legislatures and governors, signed sanctuary bills into law as recently as May.
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.
“Sanctuary policies not only provide a refuge for illegal aliens, but they also shield criminal aliens who prey on people in their own and other communities,” ICE stated to The Daily Caller News Foundation shortly after Washington Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee signed one of the strictest sanctuary policies into law. “When ICE officers and agents have to go out into the community to proactively locate these aliens, it puts personnel and potentially innocent bystanders at risk.”
The Florida anti-sanctuary bill was considered contentious when it was debated in the state legislature. The bill passed the state House by 68-45 and the state Senate by 22-18 despite facing stiff opposition from Democrats and immigration-rights groups.
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