Florida Governor Ron DeSantis Signs Bill Banning Sanctuary Cities

June 15, 2019 Updated: June 15, 2019

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed into law a bill banning sanctuary cities in the state on June 15. The bill-signing ceremony took place in Okaloosa County.

“Earlier this year, I made a promise that we would ban sanctuary cities in Florida and today we are delivering on that promise,” DeSantis announced on Twitter.

“I am proud to sign the bill presented to me by the FL Legislature to uphold the rule of law and ensure that our communities are safe.”

DeSantis, a Republican, had made the ban a promise during his campaign for governor last year.

The bill requires state entities, local governmental entities, and law enforcement agencies to use their “best efforts to support the enforcement of federal immigration law.”

It also prohibits restrictions from entities and agencies “on taking certain actions with respect to information regarding a person’s immigration status.”

“Public safety is paramount and local law enforcement agencies can and should work with the federal government to ensure that accountability and justice are one in our state,” a DeSantis spokeswoman told the Orlando Sentinel in an email on June 13.

The bill (SB-168) had passed the House in a 69-47 vote on April 24, and the Senate in a 22-18 vote on April 26.

Among the differences between the two chambers’ bills are penalties for violating the policy: The House includes fines for officials who adopt sanctuary policies and the Senate doesn’t.

Republican Sen. Joe Gruters, the state GOP chairman who introduced the bill, had earlier said it re-establishes the “rule of law.”

He said the bill only targets “the worst of the worst” and would only affect illegal immigrants who’ve been arrested and are the subject of a federal detainer.

Sanctuary cities are areas that have enacted measures to prevent local officials from cooperating with federal immigration authorities.

Sen. Tom Lee (R) said sanctuary city policies are an insult for those who enter the United States legally.

“We’re a nation of laws, and I think allowing porous borders that have people coming over here in defiance to our laws is somewhat of an abomination to all the people who have come here legally,” Lee said, according to the Herald-Tribune.

Trump on Sanctuary Cities

President Donald Trump is a firm critic of sanctuary cities. He had earlier said that he was considering a plan to transport illegal immigrants who are apprehended after illegally crossing the southwest border exclusively to sanctuary cities.

Trump walks out of the Oval Office
President Donald Trump walks out of the Oval Office to speak with reporters at the White House on June 11, 2019. (Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images)

He said the move would make those who support sanctuary zones “very happy.”

“Due to the fact that Democrats are unwilling to change our very dangerous immigration laws, we are indeed, as reported, giving strong considerations to placing Illegal Immigrants in Sanctuary Cities only,” Trump wrote on Twitter.

“The Radical Left always seems to have an Open Borders, Open Arms policy—so this should make them very happy!”

Eight states and hundreds of cities across the United States are recognized as sanctuaries for illegal immigrants.

The Trump administration proposed a new rule in April that would prevent illegal immigrants from being granted public housing financial assistance, and ensure that U.S. citizens are first in line to review housing subsidies.

Bowen Xiao and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Follow Mimi on Twitter: @MimiNguyenLy
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