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FL House Speaker "Using Trump's Playbook" to Ban Sanctuary Cities

Florida's House Bill 9 would require that police honor all requests by Immigration and Customs Enforcement to hold undocumented immigrants, even though federal judges have ruled that such holds are unconstitutional. (Mark Goebel/Flickr)
Florida's House Bill 9 would require that police honor all requests by Immigration and Customs Enforcement to hold undocumented immigrants, even though federal judges have ruled that such holds are unconstitutional. (Mark Goebel/Flickr)
January 8, 2018

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- In this first week of the 2018 legislative session, Florida House Speaker Richard Corcoran says his chamber will pass a bill to keep communities safe from what he sees as dangerous sanctuary cities. But immigrants' advocates say the real danger is Corcoran stirring the pot.

Corcoran, who is expected to run for governor, said his chamber will pass House Bill 9, which would require state and local agencies to obey federal immigration enforcement and bar sanctuary policies, or any move attempting to block the removal of unauthorized immigrants. Juan Escalante, communications director for the group America's Voice, said Corcoran is playing politics at the expense of Florida taxpayers.

"The willingness to use the Donald Trump playbook to try to exert his agenda, and potentially - and I mean, the agenda of the speaker - as a political catapult for a potential gubernatorial run or other aspirations that he may have in political office,” Escalante said.

Escalante argued the bill would result in legal fees for taxpayers due to lawsuits, and would also force the police to break with judicial precedent. Previous attempts to pass similar legislation have died in the Florida Senate.

The bill is expected to pass the House, but the issue is causing much debate among contenders in the governor's race. Commissioner of Agriculture Adam Putnam has accused Democratic Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum of "crazy talk" for criticizing the mass deportation policies of President Donald Trump. Gillum responded that Putnam's views on the topic are "all racist.”

Escalante said he's counting on the Senate to once again realize the impact of the bill.

"Because they know, deep down inside, the fact that this kind of legislation could have on our state will be devastating," he said, "not only in tourism, but also in agriculture and other sectors that depend on our image, and on the immigrants that continue to work hard, day and night, to make sure that they provide for their families and for our state."

Texas passed a similar bill last year, and a number of lawsuits were filed to challenge it. A federal judge has temporarily blocked major portions of the Texas law.

Trimmel Gomes, Public News Service - FL