A federal judge has blocked part of a Florida law that required local police to cross state lines to help federal immigration authorities but left in place a provision where the officers would have to detain illegal immigrants until the feds come to collect them. Miami U.S. District Judge Beth Bloom issued the order on Monday, Sept. 30, according to the Miami Herald.
She wrote in the order that the law “leaves numerous cooperative avenues open for law enforcement officers to participate in the immigration efforts of federal officers.” Judge Bloom’s decision pertains to the law known as SB 168: Federal Immigration Enforcement, broadly reported as a sanctuary city ban.
Following the judge’s decision, the law that enters into force on Oct. 1 stipulates that Florida police officers must cooperate with federal agencies and hold detainees in jail for an extra two days until U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) picks up the suspects and takes them to a federal detention center. Suspected illegal aliens who have posted bond or have fully served their local sentence would also be subject to the additional 48-hour detention.
The decision was criticized by South Miami Mayor Philip Stoddard, a plaintiff in legal proceedings that sought an injunction over what the City of South Miami and immigrant advocacy groups called an unconstitutional immigration law. “I’m a little baffled by it. … It’s ridiculous,” Stoddard said, according to the Herald. “It’s putting immigration enforcement above public safety.”
In June, Stoddard and the groups filed the case against Gov. Ron DeSantis and Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody, after the signing of the federal immigration enforcement bill. An argument was that forcing local law enforcement to engage in federal immigration actions would divert municipal policing resources and discourage reporting of crime in immigrant communities.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, a Republican, led efforts to get SB 168 passed. The bill passed the House in a 69-47 vote on April 24, and the Senate in a 22-18 vote on April 26. On the court ruling, Gov. DeSantis stated:
Earlier this year, I made a promise that we would ban sanctuary cities in Florida and today we are delivering on that promise. I am proud to sign the bill presented to me by the Florida Legislature 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. This is about public safety, not about politics. We must do everything within our power, and use all the tools available to us, to ensure that our communities are safe.
The law contains enforcement provisions that allow elected officials to be removed from office if they refuse to comply. Gov. DeSantis concluded his statement by adding:
[The law] makes great strides in protecting the public from illegal aliens who unlawfully reside in our state by prohibiting state and local entities from having policies in place which prohibit or impede law enforcement from cooperating with a federal immigration agency.
Earlier, ICE released its first “Declined Detainer” report, highlighting the dangers posed when sanctuary cities block efforts by federal immigration authorities to remove an illegal immigrant from the country. The July 14 report, set to be released quarterly and mandated by President Donald Trump’s 2017 executive order on “Enhancing Public Safety in the Interior of the United States,” illustrates incidents that occurred during the second quarter of Fiscal Year 2018.
The report highlights numerous cases in which law enforcement agencies failed to honor ICE detainers after arresting illegal immigrants, who then, after being released, later committed new crimes. Arrests of illegal immigrants included cases of drug possession, murder, burglary, and rape, stating:
Every day, ICE places detainers on individuals who the agency has probable cause to believe are aliens who are removable from the United States and are currently in federal, state, and local law enforcement agency custody.
President Donald Trump has been an outspoken critic of sanctuary cities and has even said that he was considering a plan to transport illegal immigrants who are apprehended after illegally crossing the southwest border exclusively to sanctuary cities.
For the full story, please visit The Epoch Times.
Updated: Tue, Oct 15th 2019 @ 12:40pm EDT