Florida passes a tough immigration law that bans “sanctuary” cities

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Florida passes a tough immigration law that prohibits "sanctuary cities" Photo courtesy of the Office of the Governor of Florida where Governor Ron DeSantis appears while showing SB 168 that prohibits "sanctuary cities" after his signature this Friday in Shalimar, Florida (USA). EFE / Office of the Governor of Florida / ONLY EDITORIAL USE / NO SALES

Miami, Florida – This Friday has one of the strictest anti-immigrant laws in the country against the so-called “sanctuary” cities and that promotes cooperation with federal immigration authorities, although lawsuits from civil groups that consider it are anticipated. unconstitutional”.

By signing it as law, Governor Ron DeSantis, aligned with the anti-immigrant policies of President Donald Trump, said amid applause that he was thus fulfilling one of his promises to “fight against illegal immigration.”

The Republican stressed that it is about offering “security” to the population and criticized that the so-called “sanctuary” cities are “law-free” jurisdictions that are exploited by undocumented immigrants to commit crimes.

The new rule requires all state agencies, municipal governments and police departments to comply with the federal immigration law and also to work with federal agencies such as the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Service (ICE) to detain and deport immigrants.

However, for groups like the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) it is an “unconstitutional” law that forces the police to “arrest without probable cause” people to be handed over by the federal immigration authorities.

“It violates the Fourth Amendment, which prohibits capture without reason, will lead to the violation of constitutional rights and will subject costly litigation” to local authorities, Scott McCoy, director of SPLC, said in a statement.

The Florida Immigrant Coalition (FLIC) on Friday also anticipated “legal challenges” for its implementation in a state with a 20% immigrant population and established a direct telephone line to guide immigrants about their rights.

The organizations criticized the controversial “detainers” of ICE, as are the detentions ordered by that federal agency, whereby the local police retain undocumented persons who are usually arrested for minor crimes for longer than the time established by law, without the order of a judge or the prosecution, and for the purpose of deportation.

For its part, the New Florida Majority group said the new measure is one of the “worst anti-immigrant laws” in the country after Arizona’s 2010 SB-1070 of “show me your papers,” which caused great controversy and still It is in force but with a softened version following a lawsuit that reached the Supreme Court.

The group recalled that, as a candidate, DeSantis appointed a female vice-governor, Jeanette Núñez, to “cover” her ideals against immigrants.

“He ran on an anti-immigrant platform, built Trump’s wall with his children in a television commercial and then pretended to cover everything with a Latina candidate,” he lamented.

The bill, approved last April by the Florida Legislature, which has a Republican majority, will come into force on July 1 and gives the police authorities three months to start it.

María Bilbao, activist for United We Dream, lamented that under the norm any “black or brown person who ‘looks or sounds like an immigrant’ or who lives in a neighborhood of immigrants” may be subject to surrender by immigration authorities.

DeSantis signed the law despite the resistance and protests of pro-immigrant groups that moved to Tallahassee, the state capital, for several weeks to show their rejection during their proceedings in the Legislative.

Similar initiatives had failed in previous years in the Florida Legislature, but it achieved great momentum with the coming to power this year of DeSantis.

The president of the Florida Democratic Party, Terry Rizzo, described as “shameful” that DeSantis and Republican lawmakers “prefer to rely on President Trump’s xenophobic agenda instead of business owners, elected officials, law enforcement and members of the law. the community of Florida that they asked him to veto this bill. “

Given the speed with which the project was processed in the Legislature, a score of groups of defense of civil rights and immigrants issued last April a travel alert to Florida for the possibility of an increase in cases of “racial discrimination , unjust detention and deportation. “

However, the Republican denied Friday to the press that it is discrimination and said the new law will not have any negative “impact” on tourism from Latin America.
In the first three months of 2019 the state received the record figure of 35.7 million tourists, 5.8% higher than the same period of 2018 and whose origin is eminently national. (EFE)

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