Florida Sanctuary Cities Debate

On Wednesday morning, the House version of the bill HB 527 was approved by the Civil Justice Subcommittee on a 9-3 vote along party lines. The bill requires state and local governments and law enforcement agencies to support and cooperate with federal immigration enforcement, or ICE. This prohibits law enforcement agencies from having policies that impede communication or information sharing with ICE. It also gives them steps to follow when someone who is arrested cannot provide proof of citizenship or legal residency or is subject to an immigration detainer.

This isn’t the first proposal to have advanced in this state session, but it appears to be the most extensive. The first given is that we will have “sanctuary” legislation pass in this state session. The question at this point is simply how extensive it will be. The biggest difference between this version of proposed sanctuary legislation, compared to what passed in the Senate, is that this would enable the state to hold local law enforcement, in addition to municipal and county governments accountable. It’s unfortunate that this was a party line vote or that we’re even having a conversation about this topic in the first place.

To be clear, legal status is only a federal issue. No local government or law enforcement agency has any jurisdiction over anyone who lacks legal status. It’s legally incumbent on local governments and law enforcement to contact the proper federal authorities when someone lacks legal status. 

Photo by: Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images

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