Florida is seeking to become the eighth state in the union to ban sanctuary cities — which has extra meaning as the largest swing state in the union.
Florida State Sen. Joe Gruters, a Sarasota Republican and likely the next chairman of the Republican Party of Florida, has filed SB 168, known as the “Rule of Law Adherence Act,” which would require local governments to comply with federal U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement requests and to repeal any already passed sanctuary policies.
A similar piece of legislation was approved by the Florida House 71-35 during the 2018 legislative session last spring. However, the House proposal never got out of the Senate Judiciary Committee.
But Gruters and others want the state Senate to have another chance to vote on banning sanctuary cities.
The sanctuary ban proposal has the support of Republican Gov.-elect Ron DeSantis, who made his position clear during this year’s gubernatorial campaign.
“I’ve always opposed amnesty and stood up for the rule of law in our country,” DeSantis tweeted last summer. “Cheap foreign labor is not an excuse to let lawlessness prevail in the Sunshine State.”
Democrats claim that banning sanctuary cities is unconstitutional and could lead to racial profiling. Their position is kind of rich since they are the originators of the idea of passing laws whose sole purpose is to violate federal laws — in this case, one of the few areas in which the feds have clear Constitutional authority.
Sen. Gruters was elected to the Senate in November after serving in the House. His new bill will be part of the legislative session that starts in March.
The bill has a stronger chance of passing this year. The House will approve it overwhelmingly. And Gruters is close to Senate President Bill Galvano, a Bradenton Republican, and has Galvano’s support for the chairmanship of the RPOF. It’s unlikely he would introduce the bill without consultation with Senate leadership, which means it has a good chance this year. And of course DeSantis is already on record favoring such a ban.
The bill’s goal is stated: “State and local governmental entities and their officials who encourage persons unlawfully present in the United States to locate within this state or who shield such persons from personal responsibility for their unlawful actions…should be held accountable.”
So: “A state entity, local governmental entity, or law enforcement agency shall fully comply with and, to the full extent permitted by law, support the enforcement of federal immigration law.”
A local jurisdiction that creates an “unlawful sanctuary policy” will be forced to “pay a civil penalty to the state of at least $1,000 but not more than $5,000 for each day that the sanctuary policy” is operative after the ban goes into effect.
States that have already banned sanctuary cities include Mississippi, North Carolina, Alabama, South Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee and Texas.
States that have voted to become sanctuary states include California, Oregon, New Mexico, Colorado, Illinois, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Vermont.
So far, a clearly red state vs. blue state breakdown.
Rod Thomson is an author, TV talking head and former journalist, and is Founder of The Revolutionary Act. Rod is co-host of Right Talk America With Julio and Rod on the Salem Radio Network.
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