Florida’s Republican Governor Ron DeSantis has signed a bill into law banning sanctuary cities in the state and requiring localities to cooperate with federal immigration enforcement.
“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,” DeSantis said in a statement on Friday.
“This is about public safety, not about politics. We must do everything within our power, and use the tools available to us, to ensure our communities are safe.”
EXACTLY. The bill targets ICE detainers, which allow local governments to hold immigrants suspected of crimes in custody while ICE determines whether the suspect can or should be removed from the country. If you come to our country and can’t abide by our laws, we shouldn’t have a duty to keep you here – especially if you came here illegally and have no right to be in our country in the first place.
Of course, groups like the ACLU and the Southern Poverty Law Center (ugh) disagree, claiming that the law is racist, inhumane, and anti-immigrant:
“It undermines public safety making our towns and cities less safe by requiring local law enforcement to spend less of their time and resources fighting crime in local communities and more on doing the work of federal immigration authorities,” [Scott McCoy, senior policy counsel for the Southern Poverty Law Center] said.
The new law will likely face legal challenges as well, attracting more attention to an issue President Trump has brought to the fore by, among other things, harping on the tragic death of Kate Steinle. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), which issued a travel advisory in response to the law, blasted the measure as “unconstitutional.”
I haven’t read the new law itself, but I’m struggling to see how a state law requiring localities to follow established federal immigration law is unconstitutional on its face. I think it’s more likely that sanctuary cities – cities that flat out decline to follow federal law – are unconstitutional.
Generally, federal law is binding on the states. That’s sort of the basic premise of federalism – states can govern as they see fit, as long as they comply with the federal framework. Even if a state disagrees with a federal law, the state must follow it anyway. That’s what makes us a single country of united states, rather than 50 separate countries.
While the federal government has overstepped its constitutional bounds in many areas, one area that is most certainly within the federal purview is the protection of our borders and our people against foreign actors and foreign incursions. I applaud Florida and Gov. DeSantis for passing this law.