Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a controversial measure on Friday that blocks localities from becoming sanctuary cities and mandates they cooperate with federal immigration enforcement.
“I am proud to sign the bill presented to me by the Florida Legislature to uphold the rule of law and ensure that no city or county jurisdiction can get in the way of Florida’s cooperation with our federal partners to enforce immigration law,” DeSantis said in a statement on Friday.
“This is about public safety, not about politics. We must do everything within our power, and use all the tools available to us, to ensure that our communities are safe.”
The bill prohibits local governments from enacting “sanctuary” polices that protect undocumented immigrants from deportation. It will require law enforcement to honor U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement detainers for undocumented immigrants who are arrested or convicted of a crime. It exempts crime victims and witnesses.
“Sanctuary cities basically create law-free zones where people can come to our state illegally and our country illegally, commit criminal offenses and then just walk right out the door and continue to do it,” DeSantis said. “In Florida, that will not happen.”
The bill was signed in the Okaloosa County Commission’s meeting room with an overflow crowd dotted with red “Make America Great Again” hats. Okaloosa, in the western Panhandle, is one of the state’s most conservative counties. The crowd cheered wildly in support of the bill and equally as loud at the mention of Trump.
DeSantis also introduced Kiyan Michael of Jacksonville, whose son Brandon was struck and killed by a driver who had been deported twice and illegally returned to the country again.
“We’re blessed to have the best president, we believe, since Ronald Reagan,” she said as the crowd roared. “Our fight is not over. Our immigration laws have to be reformed, they have to be changed, so you all don’t become us.”
At the bill signing, he said the bill was about “making sure we protect American citizens from the very bad, criminal illegal aliens that are here committing the worst crimes imaginable. This is not about illegal aliens who are here trying to provide for their families.”
This article was edited by TheBL.