By Rick Oltman, April 29, 2019
Another group of state legislators has had the courage to stand up and pass legislation banning “sanctuary cities.” The Florida House of Representatives passed a bill on Wednesday, April 24, 69-47 mostly along party lines. On Friday, the Florida State Senate passed a companion bill that banned sanctuary cities on a 22 to 18 vote, with only one Republican, state Senator Anitere Flores, voting against. This bill now heads back to the House for approval of some amendments, then on to Governor Ron DeSantis who will sign it without delay making Florida the second state to legislate that sanctuary cities are illegal.
Texas passed a ban on sanctuary cities in May of 2017.
CS/CS/HB 527 Designates that the “Rule of Law Adherence Act”; prohibits sanctuary policies; requires state & local governmental agencies to use best efforts to support enforcement of federal immigration law; provides requirements concerning immigration detainers; requires AG to prescribe format for complaints; provides injunctive relief & civil penalties; prohibits expenditure of public funds for specified purposes; provides cause of action for personal injury or wrongful death attributed to sanctuary policy; prohibits discrimination on specified grounds; requires repeal of existing sanctuary policies.
Interestingly, Florida doesn’t have any officially proclaimed “sanctuary cities.” But that doesn’t mean that some cities don’t make it difficult for federal immigration authorities to pick up illegal aliens in custody of local law enforcement. They just haven’t made the announcement.
The Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) map of “sanctuary cities” doesn’t show any in Florida, but it does identify Alachua County as a “sanctuary county” as of September, 2015. The county sheriff’s policy is that it will not honor U.S. Immigration and customs Enforcement (ICE) detainers without a judicial warrant or a criminal warrant. Alachua County is located in northern Florida, its biggest city is Gainesville, population of approximately 250,000 and the home of the University of Florida Gators.
Alachua is the Timucuan Indian word for “sinkhole.” Actually, another kind of hole comes to mind.
State action is certainly a way to deal with the “sanctuary city” insanity that is infecting parts of the country. The most effective state action, second only to a determined state legislature like Florida’s, is the state initiative process.
What can citizens do when governments break the law? Because that is what “sanctuary cities” do, they break federal immigration law. You go to the voters. And the best way to get action is to qualify a referendum, also called an initiative, a proposition or a ballot measure. Many states have this process. Over half the states in our country have the Popular Referendum. Citizens file the appropriate paper work and work to qualify the initiative for the ballot by collecting the required number of voters’ signatures on petitions.
As the veteran of two successful state initiative battles: Proposition 187 in California in 1994, which won with 59% of the vote, and Proposition 200 in Arizona in 2004, which won with 56% of the vote, including 47% of the Hispanic vote in the state. I know that ballot measures work.
In 2014, Oregonians used the referendum process, Ballot Measure 88, to soundly defeat a state legislature bill that would have given driver licenses to illegal aliens. They won with 66% of the vote.
The state initiative process can help win the battle against open borders and illegal immigration supporters, including the politicians who endorse breaking federal immigration laws.
With the 2020 election cycle rapidly approaching, political activists in the states might wish to consider anti-Sanctuary City ballot measures for November of next year.
Candidates for federal, state and local political offices will either endorse the ballot measure, or at the least, be asked by constituents whether they support or oppose it, with support for the candidate being affected by their position on it, and the entire immigration enforcement issue nationwide. Turnout for the initiative will also benefit those candidates who endorse enforcing the law.
The Florida legislature mayl provide an inspiration to other states to act to ban “sanctuary cities.”
You have enemies? Good. That means you’ve stood up for something, sometime in your life.[Winston Churchill.]
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