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Effort underway to ban sanctuary cities in Florida

By C.J. Bryant | Opinions Editor
On February 28, 2019

ICE wall plaque.
Photo Courtesy of Google.

Florida is working on a ban on sanctuary cities in light of protests from immigrant support groups.

The bill to ban sanctuary protections recently cleared its first hurdle, getting a 4-2 vote along party lines in the state Senate’s Judiciary Committee.

The bill would prohibit law enforcement from withholding information on a deportation subject from federal law enforcement. If the bill (SB 168) is passed, local law enforcement agencies will be required to cooperate with Immigration and Customs Enforcement when need be.

Tallahassee is one of a number of cities in Florida that have passed measures declaring their municipality a so-called sanctuary city.

President Donald Trump’s Florida chairman, Sen. Joe Gruters (R-Sarasota) said his bill is simply a matter of public safety and enforcing the law.

With Trump recently enacting a state of emergency to build a wall along the country’s southern border, immigration is a hot-button issue.

Rep. Ron DeSantis, Florida’s new governor, pushed the fight against illegal immigration as one of his primary platform points. Trump backed DeSantis’ run for governor against Democrat Andrew Gillum, Tallahassee’ mayor.

In 2017, Gillum accused Agriculture Secretary Adam Putnam of racism after his Twitter statement: “(Gillum)wants to make Florida a sanctuary state. That WILL NOT happen on my watch.” states:

“The number of unauthorized immigrants living in the United States was lower in 2016 than at any time since 2004. This decline is due mainly to a large drop in the number of new unauthorized immigrants, especially Mexicans, coming into the country. The origin countries of unauthorized immigrants also shifted during that time, with the number from Mexico declining and the number rising from only one other region, Central America, according to the latest Pew Research Center estimates.”

In addition, illegal immigrants are overrepresented in farming and construction labor, but are outnumbered by natural born citizens in all other industries and occupations. also notes that “six states account for 58 percent of unauthorized immigrants: California, Texas, Florida, New York, New Jersey and Illinois.”

In Florida, the illegal immigrant total rose steadily from 1990 to 2000, where it plateaued. Since then, the numbers have had ups and downs. The trend is currently decreasing since around 2011.

As time progresses, short-term unauthorized immigration is decreasing while long-term interlopers have increased.

DeSantis said, “Right now, we have over 4,500 criminal aliens in the Florida prison system. I think those individuals, when their sentences are over, need to be immediately turned over to ICE so they can be repatriated back to their country.”

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