Florida's ban on sanctuary cities takes effect today

Florida's ban on sanctuary cities takes effect today

A law requiring police in Florida to cooperate with Immigration agents takes effect today. The new law requires local law enforcement to hold prisoners up to 48-hours beyond their release date so they can be picked up by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents.

Under the law, local police departments will be required to hold undocumented immigrants who have been detained for an additional 48 hours, until ICE arrives and transports them to a federal detention center. People who have fully served their local sentence or posted bond will also be detained for the extra two days…

The law allows the governor or attorney general to take action on elected officials who don’t comply with the law, including removing them from office…

To stay in compliance with the new Florida law, law enforcement offices in all 67 Florida counties will be required to enter into formal agreements with ICE. In the agreements, ICE promises to pay local governments $50 for holding an immigrant up to an extra two days. A group of Florida sheriffs were the first in the nation to reach these kinds of agreements with ICE in 2017. Under the new law, they are mandatory.

A federal judge did block one portion of the new law which required local law enforcement to assist ICE by driving people across state lines but left the rest of the law intact. CNN reports that no municipality in Florida had actually declared itself a “sanctuary city” prior to the passage of the new law; however, South Miami sued to block the law arguing that it limited local discretion about cooperation with ICE:

“Our police are responsible for maintaining the public safety, and as soon as they are seen as somebody who might turn you in if you called for assistance, they’re no longer trusted and they can no longer do their primary job of keeping all the citizens and all the residents of a community safe,” [Mayor] Stoddard said. “It creates divisions.”

Stoddard, who said the city had been approached about the lawsuit by the Southern Poverty Law Center, said the statute is vague and overrides local authority.

“This state-level anti-sanctuary movement not only looks to repeal local sanctuary policies, it is also aimed at eliminating the discretion that local communities have traditionally exercised over their involvement in federal immigration enforcement efforts,” the resolution approved by the city commission states.

The contrary argument to the one being made about the potential for reduced cooperation with police is that illegal immigrants who are already in jail can be picked up safely and removed from the country rather than be allowed to remain and commit additional crimes.

This argument played out in Central California last month when Guadalupe Lopez-Herrera opened fire on two sheriff’s deputies who showed up to arrest him for failing to appear in court on a domestic violence charge. One of the deputies was shot twice but survived thanks to his vest. Lopez-Herrera was eventually arrested after a high-speed chase and more gunfire. Merced Sheriff Van Warnke expressed frustration that Lopez-Herrera hadn’t been deported after a previous arrest, “We had him in our custody in January of this year. And because of the folks in Sacramento limiting our ability to cooperate with ICE, we could not turn him over.”

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David Strom 5:21 PM on March 31, 2023