AP NEWS

Push to ban Florida sanctuary cities advances amid warning

March 21, 2019

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — A proposal that requires local law enforcement agencies to support federal authorities on immigration matters was approved by a Florida House committee Wednesday, while a civil-rights group warned that such cooperation can improperly ensnare U.S. citizens.

The measure passed by the House Civil Justice Subcommittee would ban so-called sanctuary policies and would allow fines and removal from office for officials who don’t comply with the legislation.

The House bill has stronger enforcement language than a Senate version, which has been approved by two committees and has one more stop before it can be considered by the full chamber.

Also Wednesday, the American Civil Liberties Union of Florida released a report saying that in the two years since Miami-Dade County abandoned its sanctuary policy, the Immigration and Customs Enforcement has requested to hold 420 people who were later identified as U.S. citizens in jail records.

The records were obtained from the county as part of a lawsuit that the ACLU’s Florida chapter filed on behalf of a man born a U.S. citizen in Honduras because of his American father. Garland Creedle was held in jail without charges because an immigration officer had requested deportation proceedings.

The report said 83 of those requests by ICE were canceled. It wasn’t clear what happened with the remaining ones. ACLU of Florida said these requests were primarily aimed at Hispanic and black people.

“Florida should not be forcing its police to participate in ICE’s broken detainer system. Miami’s detainer records are deeply disturbing and should make other localities think twice before agreeing to ICE’s requests,” said Amien Kacou, staff attorney at the ACLU’s Florida chapter.

ACLU’s Florida chapter said it could not independently verify that every person labeled a citizen in the data received was in fact a citizen.

ICE spokesman Nestor Yglesias said he could not comment on the report because the cases are in litigation.

Shortly after President Donald Trump was sworn in and said he would strip federal funding from sanctuary jurisdictions, Miami-Dade County’s mayor ordered the corrections department to follow all ICE requests to further detain people who were jailed for other offenses.

Before that order, the county would only comply with federal immigration officials in cases of serious charges or convictions following a 2013 county resolution.