Florida Governor Ron DeSantis on Friday signed a controversial measure that requires law enforcement to cooperate with federal authorities.
The law forbids jails from ignoring detainer requests from ICE and gives police the go-ahead to detain individuals they suspect are in the country illegally. Officials who refuse to obey the new policy face removal and possible litigation.
“Sanctuary cities basically create law-free zones where people can come to our state illegally and our country illegally, commit criminal offenses and then just walk right out the door and continue to do it,” said DeSantis.
As it stands, there are no sanctuary cities in Florida.
Featured at the signing ceremony on Friday was Kiyan Michael of Jacksonville, whose son was killed by a driver who had been deported twice.
“This is not about illegal aliens who are here trying to provide for their families,” explains Florida State Senator Joe Gruters (R-Sarasota). “This is about criminal illegal aliens who have broken additional laws while they’re here.”
Critics insist the new policy will erode trust between immigrant communities and police, exacerbate police profiling, and lead to increased deportations over minor offenses.
Others worry the law will harm industries that rely on immigrant workers (such as hospitality and agriculture).
“[The law] is a threat to Florida’s reputation, our public safety, our ability to welcome tourists and recruit new workers, and ultimately, our economy,” reads a letter to lawmakers signed by more than 120 Florida business executives.
The new law, which goes into effect in July unless challenged in court, makes Florida the tenth state to ban sanctuary policies. California, Washington, DC, and nine other states have laws supporting sanctuary policies.