FLORIDA — Gov. Ron DeSantis has signed one of the most controversial bills of the legislative session into law: Banning sanctuary cities in the state of Florida.
- Law makes local law enforcement comply with federal immigration agencies
- Illegal immigrants will not be deported if they report a crime: law
- The law goes into effect later this year
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Getting this legislation passed was one of the governor's top priorities. He challenged the Florida Legislature to present him this legislation and he signed it at 11 a.m. Friday. The new law goes into effect in later this year.
Senate Bill 168 will enforce one of the toughest bans on sanctuary cities into law, requiring local law enforcement to fully comply with federal immigration agencies.
Organizations who support illegal immigration say it will lead to distrust between law enforcement and illegal immigrants. They believe it will break families apart because they argue minor offenses like jaywalking or driving without a state license would to deportation.
"The families will suffer the most especially the children. They don't know what's going on or why they're taking their parents. They don't know if they'll ever see them again," said Jessica Ramirez, an Apopka organizer for the Farmworker Association of Florida.
Cosponsor of the law, Republican State Sen. David Simmons says that is simply untrue.
"This bill relates to cooperating with the federal government after an individual has been arrested or convicted of a crime," stated Simmons at the time.
In Central Florida, city of Orlando Public Information Officer Karyn Barber said "the city is not planning any policy changes," in response to the legislation.
A spokesperson for the Orange County Sheriff's Office reiterated that deputies are "not authorized to enforce federal immigration law," and that "SB 168 does not change the functions of our deputies."
The rest of the Sheriff's Office's statement said following:
"... immigration status rarely has any relevance to what our deputies do. Constitutionally, deputies are prohibited from discriminating against anyone based on their immigration status. OCSO deputies are empowered to enforce Florida state law and Orange County ordinances. Detention based on any existing immigration detainers is primarily a responsibility of the jails. The Orange County Sheriff’s Office has always been, and remains, committed to cooperating with our local, state and federal law enforcement partners."
In the legislation, it states illegal immigrants who were victims or witnesses of a crime would not be deported when they report it.
Any local government entity that does not follow the law, DeSantis could begin judicial proceedings in the name of the state against them.
Also, institutions within the state university system and the Florida college system will need to follow this law.