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Florida Lawmakers Introduce Bill Banning ‘Sanctuary’ Cities–with Penalties

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Florida Republican lawmakers have introduced legislation that will target “sanctuary” cities and counties, along with the elected officials that support them, that don’t cooperate with federal enforcement of immigration law.

Sen. Aaron Bean (R-Fernandina Beach) and Rep. Larry Metz (R-Yalaha) introduced SB 786 and HB 697, known as the “Rule of Law Adherence Act,” Wednesday in Tallahassee, the Miami Herald reported.

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The bills seek to ban “sanctuary policies” in Florida and create fines and penalties for state agencies, local governments, or law enforcement agencies that use these policies and don’t comply with federal immigration law.

“The one thing that everybody should know in our country is: We can’t choose which laws we’ll obey or which laws we don’t obey,” said Bean.

The bills define a “sanctuary policy” as any “law, policy, practice, procedure, or custom adopted or permitted” by a state, local, or law enforcement agency “which contravenes or which knowingly prohibits or impedes a law enforcement agency from communicating or cooperating with a federal immigration agency with respect to federal immigration enforcement.”

It’s not clear when the legislation is likely to come up for a vote, if at all, but the bill will likely face opposition from Democrats, immigrant advocates, and local governments, according to the Herald.

Metz said federal law already requires states and local governments to cooperate with immigration law, but the current federal law has “no penalties” in place for those that “fail to cooperate.”

“What this bill would do is put into policy in the state of Florida the idea that our immigration policies at the federal level should receive cooperative support at the state and local level,” he said.

A similar bill targeting sanctuary cities in 2016 passed the Florida House but stalled due to lack of support in the Florida Senate.


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