If you’ve seen some of the recent media coverage, you might think sanctuary policies in Florida had overwhelming support and maybe even that voters in the Sunshine State were clamoring to turn the place into a sanctuary state like California. That couldn’t be further from the truth, as a recent poll makes abundantly clear.
Quinnipiac’s poll of 1,058 registered Florida voters indicates, “Florida voters support 61 – 27 percent Gov. DeSantis’ proposal to require local law enforcement to work with federal immigration authorities.” That’s more than two to one.
The Quinnipiac poll shows broad public support for legislation that has been filed and moving in Tallahassee to turn Gov. DeSantis’ promises into law: Senate Bill (SB) 168 sponsored by Senator Joe Gruters (R-Sarasota), and House Bill (HB) 527 by Representatives Cord Byrd (R-Jacksonville Beach) and Erin Grall (R-Vero Beach). FAIR’s May 2018 survey identified 15 cities and counties in Florida with some kind of sanctuary policies (Orlando made it 16 in July), and these bills would put a stop to all of them.
SB 168 has had three committee hearings in the Florida Senate so far (on February 11, February 19 and March 12). In each case, open-borders groups have sought to create the false sense that Floridians oppose anti-sanctuary legislation by flooding the meeting rooms with people opposed to the bill. These heated hearings have been emotional, and hyperbolic. But are they in any way actually representative of what Floridians think, and want their legislators to do?
The poll sure suggests it isn’t. Dig a little deeper into it, and you find a ban on sanctuary policies in Florida is also supported “51 – 39 percent among black voters and 48 – 39 percent among Hispanic voters.”
Democrats are the only group of Florida voters polled who support sanctuary policies, by a margin of 50%-37%. Of course, that probably doesn’t mean you’d expect that to translate into 37 percent of Democrat lawmakers supporting it, but you’d still expect some: getting criminal aliens off Florida’s streets is both good common-sense public policy and something supported by many of their constituents. Yes, it’s a minority of them, but still a sizeable minority.
Yet the actual number in both chambers is zero, at least so far. In fact, not a single Democrat state legislator has publicly come out in support of the anti-sanctuary bills. Maybe they need to listen more to their constituents and tune out the activist groups altogether. And maybe they need to listen to Governor DeSantis, who in his State of the State Address said it perfectly: “It’s never too late to do the right thing. … be bold.”