Florida Gov. Looking to Outlaw ‘Sanctuary City’ Status in Sunshine State

Florida’s recently elected Governor, Ron De Santis, is now turning his attention to putting an end to so-called “sanctuary cities” by pushing legislation to ban cities from claiming to be sanctuaries and to make it illegal for police agencies to refuse to work with ICE.

Now THAT is a governor!

Currently, the Florida GOP is pushing several bills through the state legislature in Tallahassee. Some of the bills would fine or fire police officers who refuse to work with ICE, Fox News reported.

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“This problem that we have right now, is a problem that has been festering in the United States because it has not been solved by the federal government for the past 40 years,” said Florida Republican Rep. Blaise Ingoglia. “Quite frankly, you know since the last mass amnesty, if you will, in 1986 under Ronald Reagan, we were always promised that we would have some sort of… legal immigration reform and it never came.”

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It’s all an effort by the Republican-led state lawmakers, buoyed by DeSantis, to toughen the rules on illegal immigration. The sanctuary city ban, which passed the Senate Infrastructure and Security Committee, will be voted on by both chambers before May 3.

By some accounts, Florida has around 800,000 illegal aliens and De Santis sensibly does not want them given special protections from punishment for breaking the law.

Florida would join nine other states that have already passed laws requiring law enforcement officials to work with immigration officials.

Those states include, Alabama, Arizona, Georgia, Iowa, North Carolina, Mississippi, Missouri, Tennessee and Texas.

Opponents of the bills in Florida say such a law is unnecessary because no city on the Sunshine state has officially declared itself a sanctuary city, but Republicans point out that several have effectively taken on that status because city officials have prevented police from working with ICE.

Republican lawmakers don’t agree. They call a handful of cities — including Orlando and West Palm Beach — “pseudo-sanctuary” cities, because they prevent law enforcement officials from asking about immigration status when they make arrests. The City of Miami Police Chief Jorge Colina also criticized the bill, going so far as saying he might quit if he had to check someone’s legal status before helping them.

“There are still people here in the state of Florida, police chiefs that are just refusing to contact ICE, refusing to detain somebody that they know is here illegally. So while the actual county municipality doesn’t have an actual adopted policy, they still have people in power within their sheriff’s department or police department that refuse to do it anyway,” said Ingoglia.

Opponents also say that the law would take away local autonomy. But those who support the idea say that if local cities are breaking the law by refusing to enforce immigration laws, they have forfeited their autonomy on that point

In any case, the push has the support of the newly elected governor and he has a 60 percent approval rate even after a very contentious election… so, he has some political capital.

Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston.

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