Skip to main content

SPLC Action Fund: Florida immigration enforcement bill dangerous, unnecessary and unconstitutional

The Florida Legislature this week passed Senate Bill 168, which would ban so-called “sanctuary cities.”

Sanctuary city” is a broad term that is applied to jurisdictions with policies in place that are intended to limit cooperation with, or involvement in, federal immigration enforcement actions.

The bill, which has already passed in the Florida House, will now go to Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, to be signed into law.

The most important thing to understand about this bill is how dangerous it will be for Floridians. This new law will make our towns and cities less safe by requiring local law enforcement to spend less of their time and resources fighting crime in local communities and more on doing the work of federal immigration authorities.

People in immigrant communities will be less likely to report crime to the police or cooperate with investigations, for fear of immigration enforcement against themselves or members of their community.

The legislation inhumanely separates families, tearing apart parents and their children, while doing nothing to address legitimate public safety concerns. This can have traumatic long-term effects on our youth and our communities.

Senate Bill 168 is also unconstitutional. It forces local and state police to detain people for federal immigration authorities without probable cause. It violates the Fourth Amendment’s prohibition on unreasonable seizure, will lead to the violation of constitutional rights, and will subject law enforcement to costly litigation.

We are all safer when everyone is free from illegally being held in jail. We hope that Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis will veto this dangerous and unconstitutional bill.

For more information on the dangers of this new law, please see this Op-Ed from Mary Bauer, Deputy Legal Director for the SPLC Action Fund.

Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images