On Tuesday, Gov. Ron DeSantis called on for the Legislature, which kicks off its regular session next week, to do more to stop illegal immigration in Florida. DeSantis, an ally of President Donald Trump, also called for law enforcement to work closer with the federal government to uphold immigration laws.
“I am asking the Legislature to send me a bill during the 2019 legislative session that addresses sanctuary cities and counties in Florida,” said DeSantis. “We take our responsibility to protect our citizens, foster safe communities and uphold the rule of law very seriously. I am also calling on more local law enforcement agencies to work with the federal government to ensure that accountability and justice are being upheld throughout our state. I applaud Sheriff Nienhuis and Hernando County for taking part in this program.”
DeSantis is also calling on the “Florida Department of Corrections (FDC) to review the 287(g) program and prepare a strategy to participate.”
“The governor has asked FDC Secretary Mark Inch to identify facilities within the Department of Corrections system where the implementation of federal immigration enforcement programs would be most beneficial,” the governor’s office noted. “He is also asking the Florida Sheriffs Association to encourage increased participation in programs that facilitate greater cooperation in immigration enforcement with the federal government.”
DeSantis noted that several law enforcement agencies–including the Clay, Collier, Hernando and Pasco County Sheriff’s Offices and Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office have been working with the federal government on immigration.
“This program is an agreement between U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the respective law enforcement office that assists with the identification and removal of criminal aliens,” the governor’s office noted. “The program establishes guidelines and conditions for ICE to gather citizenship information and the immigration status of a detainee to make a final determination of further proceedings and allows personnel of the respective sheriff’s office to be selected, trained and approved by ICE to perform certain functions as a Designated Immigration Officer within the detention facility of the local law enforcement agency.”
Florida Democratic Party Executive Director Juan Peñalosa quickly fired back.
“Florida currently has no Sanctuary Cities – so this proposal does little than please his far right base and anti-immigrant agenda. DeSantis’ proposal will only create fear in immigrant communities, undermine our state’s proud diversity, increase racial profiling, raise costs for taxpayers, and sets a terrible precedent in our state,” Peñalosa said.