New Agreement Will Give Some Florida Prison Guards Immigration-Related Authority

November 27, 2019 Updated: November 27, 2019

Florida’s new agreement with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) will allow a small group of trained prison guards to perform some immigration law enforcement functions, including identifying criminal aliens who are in custody and considered a public risk.

The program, Section 287(g) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, will effectively deputize state correctional officers as ICE agents. Currently, there are similar agreements with Sheriff’s Offices in 14 Florida counties, according to HealthNewsFlorida.

The officers will be authorized to interrogate any person in custody, serve warrants of arrest for immigration violations, take and consider evidence deemed necessary to process, administer oaths, prepare charging documents and Notices to Appear, detain and transport illegal aliens to federal detention centers.

“I believe public safety is important to maintain the best quality of life in our communities which is why I am extremely pleased that the Legislature gave me a sanctuary city bill I signed into law,” Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said in a statement.

DeSantis banned sanctuary cities in Florida last year and is working to make E-Verify mandatory statewide in order to discourage illegal immigration, while increasing the wages of American workers, reported Breitbart.

“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 FL Legislature to uphold the rule of law and ensure that our communities are safe,” DeSantis wrote in June on Twitter.

DeSantis asked the Florida legislature earlier this year to make a bill that would “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,” according to the governor’s spokeswoman Helen Ferre, reported the Orlando Sentinel.

“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.”

Democrats and immigrant-rights groups have opposed DeSantis’ strong policies on immigration. However, according to an October 2019 poll (pdf) taken by the University of North Florida, an overwhelming 82 percent of Hispanics approve of DeSantis’ work as governor, and 72 percent of all Florida voters polled approve of the governor’s handling of his job. Only eight percent of Hispanics disapprove of the governor’s handling of his job, according to the poll.

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