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Promise kept: Fla. Gov DeSantis to make official one of the toughest ‘sanctuary city’ bans in the country

(Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

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Gov. Ron DeSantis will be making good on a campaign promise as he is expected to be signing legislation to ban so-called sanctuary cities in Florida.

The Republican governor made the controversial issue a top priority and is expected to be in Okaloosa County Friday for a bill-signing ceremony, according to the Orlando Sentinel.

(Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead)

The measure, one of the toughest on “sanctuary cities” in the country and one of the most debated of the 2019 legislative session, was sent to DeSantis on Thursday after the state Senate and House passed it 22-18 and 68-45, respectively, on May 2.

“The bill seeks to ensure that state and local entities and law enforcement agencies cooperate with federal government officials to enforce, and not obstruct, immigration laws. In its most general and broad terms, the bill requires law enforcement agencies to support the enforcement of federal immigration law,” the bill, called SB 168, reads.

Existing sanctuary policies in Florida would be repealed within 90 days of the bill going into effect which, once signed by the Governor, would be on July 1, 2019.

In addition to banning any “state entity, local governmental entity, or law enforcement agency from having a sanctuary policy,” the bill also “requires a law enforcement agency that has custody of someone who is subject to an immigration detainer to notify the judge of the detainer, record in the person’s file the existence of the detainer, and comply with the detainer.”

The bill’s Senate sponsor, Republican state Rep. Joe Gruters, is expected to be on hand with GOP Sen. Matt Gaetz for the signing ceremony Friday.

An estimated 200,000 undocumented immigrants living in Florida have nothing to fear from the bill if they don’t break the law, according to Gruters who is also chairman of the Republican Party of Florida. But Democrats have warned that the bill could strain relations with local police as minor offenses, such as traffic violations could lead to an illegal immigrant being deported, according to the Orlando Sentinel.

“Earlier this year, Governor DeSantis asked the Florida Legislature to present him with meaningful legislation to uphold the rule of law and ensure that no city or county jurisdiction can get in the way of Florida’s cooperation with our federal partners to enforce immigration law,” DeSantis spokeswoman Helen Ferre told The Orlando Sentinel.

“Public safety is paramount and local law enforcement agencies can and should work with the federal government to ensure that accountability and justice are one in our state,” she added.

Laws requiring law enforcement to cooperate with ICE have been passed in the states of Alabama, Arizona, Georgia, Iowa, North Carolina, Mississippi, Missouri, Tennessee and Texas.

Florida Democrats denounced the bill after it passed last month, warning that the measure would make the Sunshine State “the Republicans’ deportation and family separation machine.”

But DeSantis countered arguments in a statement following the passage of the measure.

“We are a stronger state when we protect our residents, foster safe communities and respect the work of law enforcement at every level,” he said. “Local law enforcement agencies can and should work with the federal government to ensure that accountability and justice are done in our state.”

While the left unloads on the governor for not providing cover for illegal immigrants on the state, many others were grateful for someone who shows he is not afraid to enforce the law and protect the residents of the state he was elected to represent.

Frieda Powers

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