Florida Sanctuary Challenge: Political Symbolism vs. Rule of Law

A lawsuit seeking to kill Florida’s new anti-sanctuary law recycles an earlier argument used to challenge Texas’s Senate Bill 4. It, too, could be headed to the legal trash bin.

Florida’s Senate Bill 168, signed into law by Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis, requires local law enforcement agencies to honor federal “detainer” requests on illegal aliens. The opposing 72-page lawsuit, filed last week in U.S. District Court, complains that such a requirement unlawfully “supplants” federal immigration authority. This is richly ironic, considering that the entire purpose of sanctuary jurisdiction is to usurp federal authority.

Curiously, the city of South Miami, the lead plaintiff and only municipality in the lawsuit, has never received a detainer request. Sean Foreman, a Barry University political science professor, suggested that the court gambit may be “more symbolic than one that deals with actual problems on the ground.”

The lawsuit’s claims echo a previous failed challenge to Texas’s anti-sanctuary law. The 5th Circuit Court of Appeal ruled that administrative warrants (detainers) from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement are sufficient to hold individuals ICE might deport, even if they’ve been granted bail or their charges have been dropped.

A 9th Circuit Court of Appeal panel expanded on that position last week, concluding: “[Local] cooperation relating to enforcement of federal immigration law is in pursuit of the general welfare and public safety.”

SB 168’s opponents attempt to revive spurious assertions that enforcing immigration laws somehow hampers effective local law enforcement. Not only is there is no evidence to support this contention, but crime statistics show sanctuary cities that shield illegal aliens to be among the most dangerous in the nation.

Without facts or court rulings in its favor, the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), representing the plaintiffs in the Florida case, shamelessly plays the race card — smearing SB 168 supporters as “hate groups.” But subjective political labels do not objective legal arguments make.

State Sen. Joe Gruters, R-Sarasota, a co-sponsor of the bill, noted SB 168 is identical to one drafted in previous years by Larry Metz, a former member of the state House and Lake County circuit judge. And summing up the view of many Florida law enforcement officials, Brevard County Sheriff Wayne Ivey pointed out that SB 168 “simply says we are not only allowed, we are going to work with our federal partners.”

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  1. avatar

    Sanctuaries for illegal aliens in the United States are ILLEGAL.Those who are protecting illegal aliens in these sanctuaries are violating FEDERAL IMMIGRATION LAW and are committing TREASON.

  2. avatar

    “Hate groups” according to the Southern Poverty Law Center means anyone who supports the rule of law. But give them enough money, and they already have a ton of it, and they will say it. It’s funny how sanctuary cities claim enforcing immigration laws is a duty of the federal government. Ok, but no one is asking you to enforce any immigration laws. You are being asked to help federal officials do their jobs by notifying them when you are going to release criminal illegals. It’s absurd to claim you are working to keep the public safe when you are actively working to put criminals back on the streets to resume their havoc.

    The Mueller hearings were the perfect example of beware of what you are asking for because you might get it. All it did was give a lot of American citizens the chance to hear the whole story, unfiltered by the media. Including the presence of so many Clinton acolytes on his team. And his lame excuses for ignoring the perjury and destruction of evidence by the other side, with him saying “the inspector general is looking at that”, ignores the fact that his mandate was not to only go after any alleged collusion attempts by Trump people. It was look at ALL aspects and he did not, clearly.

    • avatar
      Dave Anderson on

      Spot on. The more we hear only substantiates the fact that a deep state has endeavored to undermine a president of US. Pretty shocking. If Durham and Horowitz investigations confirm this to be true, it will be the worst scandal in our history. And if so, people should be sent to prison lest anyone think of doing it again.

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