The Florida House of Representatives voted Wednesday to ban “sanctuary cities” from the state.
The Republican-led House voted 69-47 in favor of a bill would mandate local law enforcement coordinate with federal authorities in identifying illegal immigrants. Although there are no sanctuary cities in the Sunshine State, this bill would ban the future formation of any.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has signaled support for such legislation in the past and a similar bill is in the state Senate, which is also Republican-controlled and has a 23-17 majority.
If cities decide to adopt a sanctuary city policy, local governments would be fined $5,000 every day that the offending city has the policy in place. After the bill’s Wednesday passage, the American Civil Liberties Union issued a statement condemning the legislation and warning people not to travel to Florida if it becomes law.
“It would also put immigrants at risk of violence, potentially forcing victims and witnesses to stay silent for fear of deportation,” the group said.
The bill’s sponsor and chairman of the state Republican Party, state Sen. Joe Gruters, has made the matter a priority this legislative session and hoped to get a law on the books by the end of the year.
“I’m glad to be the catalyst to help this happen,” Gruters said Tuesday. “And we have Ron DeSantis, our governor, who has made this a priority. That’s why this is moving forward.”