On Tuesday, Miami-area U.S. District Judge Beth Bloom “blocked Florida from enforcing a ban on so-called sanctuary cities,” as reported by the Miami Herald. The paper notes that Florida Republican Governor Ron DeSantis, who has heartily supported the sanctuary cities ban, ‘vowed to ban “sanctuary cities” in Florida when running for governor in 2018 even though there were none in the state’ — which certainly says a lot about the general disconnection between Republican rhetoric and real-world circumstances.
NEW: A federal judge in Miami on Tuesday blocked Florida from enforcing a ban on so-called sanctuary cities and policies, declaring portions of a law unconstitutional and tinged with “discriminatory motives.”https://t.co/NF1ELWWZsC
— Ana Ceballos (@anaceballos_) September 22, 2021
So-called “sanctuary cities” are those where local law enforcement personnel decline to act as de facto extensions of federal immigration enforcement agencies, although the exact form of this declined cooperation can vary between areas. Contrary to the insinuations of prominent conservatives, areas with such policies do not allow immigrants who’ve committed crimes to escape accountability. Instead, officials (generally speaking) simply treat such individuals the same as others who have committed criminal acts.
Meanwhile, besides blocking Florida’s DeSantis-backed ban on so-called sanctuary cities, Bloom also blocked the state from enforcing a provision of that same law that required law enforcement personnel to “use best efforts to support the enforcement of federal immigration law” when on the job. Obviously, just like the ban on “sanctuary” policies, demanding that local law enforcement officers prioritize assisting with the enforcement of federal immigration policies could muddle the work that such officers are actually supposed to be doing. The judge also struck down a provision of the law that allowed law enforcement to move detainees to federal custody beyond the local personnel’s jurisdiction.
Bloom did, however, allow a provision to remain on the books that requires “state and local law enforcement agencies to comply with immigration detainers,” which are “federal requests to hold undocumented immigrants past their release dates so that immigration agents can pick them up,” the Herald notes.
But, she said that the provision in the law allowing for transporting immigrant detainees outside of local jurisdictions is “preempted by federal immigration law and is therefore unconstitutional.” Bloom also concluded that those behind the original bill disregarded the “racial animus and discriminatory intent” that fueled the efforts of non-governmental groups that backed the legislation. As she put it, the anti-sanctuary city law “was enacted based on biased and unreliable data generated by anti-immigrant hate groups FAIR [Federation For American Immigration Reform] and CIS [Center for Immigration Studies], despite the chilling effect and disparate impact that this provision would have on immigrant communities.” Among other examples, bans on “sanctuary” policies can intimidate immigrants away from getting in touch with local authorities, even when in need. Read more at this link.