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Florida Legislature passes ban on 'sanctuary cities'

Posted at 11:29 PM, May 02, 2019

The Florida Legislature passed a bill Thursday prohibiting so-called sanctuary cities in the state.

"Sanctuary city" is a broad term applied to jurisdictions that have policies in place intended to limit cooperation with, or involvement in, federal immigration enforcement actions. Many of the largest cities in the country have such policies.

The bill passed the state Senate 22-18 and the state House 68-45. It now heads to Gov. Ron DeSantis' desk to be signed.

The Republican governor praised the bill Thursday and said in a statement, "We are a stronger state when we protect our residents, foster safe communities and respect the work of law enforcement at every level."

The bill requires "state entities, local governmental entities, and law enforcement agencies to use best efforts to support the enforcement of federal immigration law," according to its text.

It prohibits restrictions "by the entities and agencies on taking certain actions with respect to information regarding a person's immigration status," and authorizes "a law enforcement agency to transport an alien unlawfully present in the United States under certain circumstances."

The Florida Democrats' Twitter account posted , "Our state was once a place that welcomed immigrants looking for a better future. Under #SB168, Florida would become the Republicans' deportation and family separation machine."

President Donald Trump has frequently attacked sanctuary cities and made them a target of his administration. In his first few weeks in office, Trump signed an executive order trying to keep federal funds from going to sanctuary jurisdictions that has since been blocked or constrained by federal courts.

Earlier this month, Trump said his administration is "strongly looking at" the possibility of releasing immigrants into sanctuary cities, in part to retaliate against Democrats.