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Florida Passed an Anti-Sanctuary Bill, but It Doesn’t Have Any Sanctuary Cities

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Florida Governor Ron DeSantis.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed a bill into law late last week banning so-called sanctuary cities, where local agencies are barred from aiding federal immigration enforcement, even though Florida has no current sanctuary cities to ban. The newly minted law also requires that local government agencies actively support federal immigration agents’ efforts, which experts warn stands to harm public safety and the Florida economy, and comes at a time when many across the nation are debating whether local law enforcement and other employees can legally assist federal agents’ efforts to detain and deport immigrants.

On Friday, DeSantis signed the SB 168 Federal Immigration Enforcement bill, which passed by a 68–45 vote in the state House and a narrow 22–18 vote in the state Senate. “This is about public safety, not about politics,” DeSantis said in a press release. “We must do everything within our power, and use all the tools available to us, to ensure that our communities are safe.”

The practical reasons for the ban on sanctuary cities were not immediately evident. “All jurisdictions in Florida already complied with the requirements of federal law,” explains American Civil Liberties Union of Florida staff attorney Amien Kacou.

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