ACLU rejects project that prohibits sanctuary policies in Florida

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Dozens of people join a demonstration called by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) in front of the Federal Court of Brownsville to protest the 'zero tolerance' immigration policy of President Trump's administration on Thursday, June 28, 2018, in Brownsville, Texas (USA). EFE / Archive

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Florida condemned a state bill introduced today that seeks to repeal any sanctuary policy and prohibits state and local agencies from passing ordinances that protect immigrants from being detained.

The initiative (HB-527) was submitted to the lower House of Representatives by the Republican Cord Byrdque.

The ACLU of Florida and the Florida Immigrant Coalition (FLIC) said the project “would endanger immigrant families and encourage the unjustified persecution of immigrants” in the state.

The law is aligned with the policy of President Donald Trump, who from the beginning of his mandate ordered the interruption of certain federal funds to the so-called “sanctuary cities,” which refuse to federal immigration programs that are not mandatory.

In that sense, María Rodríguez, director of FLIC, said that the counties and municipalities “should have jurisdiction over their own resources and define their own priorities.”

The activists recalled that Miami-Dade was the first county in the nation to yield in 2017 to Trump’s anti-immigrant agenda by agreeing to collaborate with immigration despite the “dramatic” financial costs.

“These cruel policies only serve to destroy public trust in the application of the law, exhaust valuable resources to enforce those laws, and make Florida less secure,” said Amien Kacou, political director of the ACLU of Florida.

These initiatives and requests for retention without court order, “have already been declared by the courts as unconstitutional,” recalled Kacou.

Both organizations recalled that in 2018 about 17 Sheriffs in Florida announced that they would join a pilot program to work more closely with federal immigration authorities, but some withdrew “because of the negative impacts on their communities.”

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