Florida Republicans table proposal to strengthen immigration enforcement

TALLAHASSEE, Florida – In one of Governor Ron DeSantis’ priorities for this year’s legislative session, two Republican lawmakers tabled a proposal to strengthen immigration enforcement. In the state.

Sen. Aaron Bean, R-Fernandina Beach, and Representative John Snyder, R-Stuart, tabled identical bills (SB 1808 and HB 1355) on Friday, nearly a month after DeSantis announced similar proposals during of a press conference in Jacksonville.

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DeSantis and Attorney General Ashley Moody have been critical of the Biden administration’s border policies for months, and the bills have arrived as lawmakers prepare to begin the annual legislative session on Tuesday – and as DeSantis, Moody and others dozens of lawmakers are gearing up for this fall’s election.

The proposal would expand a 2019 law that bans so-called “sanctuary cities” in Florida and clamp down on transportation companies that bring undocumented immigrants into the state. The proposal would prohibit state and local governments from entering into contracts with such companies “if the carrier willfully provides a service to transport an unauthorized alien into the state of Florida knowing that the unauthorized alien has entered or remains in the states. -United in violation. of the law.”

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“We simply cannot contract with companies that knowingly and recklessly facilitate, illegally bring people here to our state,” DeSantis said at the Dec. 10 press conference at Jacksonville International Airport.

The five-page bills tabled Friday would also force counties to make deals with U.S. immigration and customs to participate in a program in which local law enforcement officials help enforce immigration. As of November, the federal agency had reached such agreements with 48 counties in Florida, according to the agency’s website.

By expanding the Sanctuary Cities Act, the bills would seek to ensure that local governments comply with the proposed requirement to enter into agreements with immigration and customs enforcement. In addition, the proposal would seek to prevent local governments from preventing law enforcement from sharing information with the state about the immigration status of those in detention.

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Immigration issues in the past have sparked heated debate in the legislature and led to court battles.

The 2019 Sanctuary Cities Act was designed to encourage local law enforcement to fully comply with federal immigration detainees and to share information with federal immigration authorities following immigration detention. illegal immigrant.

But U.S. District Judge Beth Bloom ruled in September that two parts of the Sanctuary Cities Act violated constitutional due process rights – a ruling the state appealed. Bloom pointed out what she described as an “immigrant threat story” that helped lead to the law (SB 168).

“On the basis of the evidence presented, the tribunal concludes that the plaintiffs proved by a preponderance of evidence that SB 168 has discriminatory or disparate effects on racial and ethnic minorities, and these discriminatory effects were both foreseeable and known to legislature upon enactment of SB 168, ”Bloom wrote.

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After DeSantis announced the new round of immigration proposals in December, Democrats attempted to link the proposals to speculation that DeSantis was planning a White House offer in 2024.

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