The Patriot Post® · Florida Legislature Votes to End Sanctuary Cities
The Florida state legislature has taken a stand against the American Left’s penchant for selective law enforcement. Last Wednesday, the GOP-controlled House passed a bill banning so-called sanctuary cities that harbor illegal aliens and refuse to cooperate with federal immigration authorities. The vote was 69-47 along party lines. On Friday, the state Senate passed its version of the ban by a 22-18 margin. Negotiations between the House and Senate will now commence until an identical bill can be sent to Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis for his signature.
Barring major changes, the law prohibits local governments from ignoring detainer requests from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and requires them to hold suspected illegals in jail until the feds can take them into custody. A failure to do so could precipitate fines of up to $5,000 per day. The House version of the bill would also allow lawsuits to be filed against local governments for personal injuries or wrongful deaths tied to sanctuary policies, and suspend or remove government employees or elected officials who refuse to enforce immigration laws.
That very welcome part of the statute stands in stark contrast to the immunity that shields many sanctuary-city officials, most recently upheld by a three-judge panel of the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. That panel refused to allow the family of Kate Steinle to sue the city of San Francisco after their daughter was killed by Jose Ines Garcia Zarate, a seven-time convicted felon who had been deported five times. Despite ICE’s request for a detainer, former San Francisco Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi released Zarate, who was ultimately convicted of a firearms charge, but acquitted of murdering Steinle. Following that stunning verdict, Ellen Canale, a spokeswoman for Mayor Ed Lee, made it clear the death of an innocent citizen at the hands of an illegal alien felon wouldn’t alter the status quo one iota. “San Francisco is and always will be a sanctuary city,” she asserted.
Florida is on the verge of preventing similar outrages and, unsurprisingly, Democrats and their leftists allies are apoplectic. Prior to the bill’s passage there were protests staged at the Capitol, and district offices were besieged by sit-ins. The ACLU issued a “Florida Travel Alert,” warning that “Florida residents, citizens and non-citizens, and travelers could face risks of being racially profiled and being detained without probable cause.”
Or, illegal aliens who have no business being in Florida could be detained, prosecuted, and ultimately deported in accordance with federal immigration law.
The Left also played the economics card. The American Business Immigration Coalition sent a letter to the state’s elected officials declaring that “anti-immigrant” legislation will “inflict long-lasting damage to the state of Florida” to the tune of “an annual loss of $121.4M in taxes and $3.5B in GDP, threatening the economic prosperity and safety of all Floridians.”
The letter also trotted out the same tiresome talking points the Left has long used to justify wholesale law-breaking. It stated that the bill “gives traffickers another tool to terrorize and enslave their victims,” that the agricultural industry will be “devastated,” and that both the “documented and undocumented are less likely to commit a crime than native-born citizens.”
Traffickers can only “enslave” those willing to sneak across the border, which remains wide open because a purposefully do-nothing Congress beholden to the globalist agenda allows it — and because the hundreds of sanctuary cities across the nation further incentivize that contemptible reality. That the state’s agricultural industry that would be “devastated” without illegal workers is an argument eerily similar to the one made by pre-Civil War southern plantation owners who claimed to need slave labor to remain economically viable. And if there’s a more bankrupt argument than the insidious notion that Americans should abide a “reasonable” number of wholly avoidable crimes — including murder and rape — solely to accommodate leftist desires to “fundamentally transform” America, one is hard-pressed to imagine what it is.
Yet another propaganda point was disseminated by The Washington Post. “While the definition of sanctuary cities varies, most analysts say Florida does not have any,” the paper asserts.
If that’s the case, then this bill won’t pose any problem.
But that’s not the case, and no one made that clearer than Miami Police Chief Jorge Colina, who told a Spanish-language radio station that he’d rather be thrown out of the police department than follow the proposed law. “I don’t care if you have papers or don’t have papers, where you came from, or who your parents are,” Colina said. “That’s not my job. My job is to make sure everyone in this city is safe.”
No, a police chief’s job is to enforce the Rule of Law — period. Perhaps Gov. DeSantis, who has already successfully suspended Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel for his colossal failure of leadership in the Parkland atrocity, will address Colina’s defiance — along with that of every other similarly recalcitrant law-enforcement official — in a similarly no-nonsense manner.
Neptune Beach Republican Cord Byrd, who sponsored the House initiative, spoke to the real issues in play here. “We are more than just a job center. We are a nation of citizens governed by law,” he said. Sen. Joe Gruters, sponsor of the Senate legislation and chairman of the Florida Republican Party, echoed those sentiments. “This bill is about public safety and making sure we remove the criminal element of illegals that are here,” he said. “The president has a laser focus on the failures of Washington in terms of immigration policy, and I think that has made this effort easier.”
Those failures are monumental. According to a recent study by the Pew Research Center, approximately 775,000 illegals reside in Florida, and more than 20% of students attending Florida schools have at least one parent who is an illegal alien.
Yet those figures are likely low-ball estimates. On Nov. 28, 2018, Pew stated that the number of illegals in the U.S. declined to 10.7 million as of 2016.
That a Yale-MIT study pegged the number closer to 22 million? That ICE is currently holding 50,223 migrants, one of the highest total numbers on record? That the pace of illegal border crossings in 2019 alone is approaching 1.2 million?
How twisted is their thinking? In his book Violent Borders, University of Hawaii professor Reece Jones spells it out: “By refusing to abide by a wall, map, property line, border, identity document, or legal regime, mobile people upset the state’s schemes of exclusion, control, and violence.”
No, they don’t. “Mobile people” make an utter mockery of the Rule of Law and legal immigration. Moreover, sanctuary cities are nothing more than a secessionist movement promoting itself as social justice.
The Miami Herald provides great insight into their twisted thinking. “Florida is part of a recent trend of states pushing such policies,” it states.
Enforcing immigration law is “trendy”? Americans have been besieged by such ideological bankruptcy for far too long. Florida just stepped off the propagandist bus. Bravo.