How will DeSantis’ bill banning ‘sanctuary cities’ impact Florida?

Local News

TAMPA, Fla (WFLA) – Gov. Ron DeSantis signed legislation Friday to ban so-called “sanctuary cities” in Florida, making the Sunshine State the twelfth to have such a law.

The proposal was one of the top priorities for DeSantis during his campaign for governor and became a topic of contention during this year’s Legislative session. 

Under SB 168, local governments will be required to “use their best efforts to support the enforcement of federal immigration law.”

Essentially, law enforcement agencies will be able to detain someone based on probable cause that they are violating federal immigration laws. It also prohibits local officials from implementing “sanctuary” policies, which had previously not been clarified in Florida’s legislation.

Currently, Florida has no designated “sanctuary cities.”

Alachua County in north Florida is listed by the Center for Immigration Studies as a “sanctuary,” meaning county authorities will not honor ICE detainer without a judicial order or criminal warrant.

So the bill may not have as large of a sustainable impact on the state’s immigrant-related crime.

According to 2007 data from the Pew Research Center, Florida had 1.05 million undocumented people. By 2016, that number had deflated to 775,000. 

According to Pew Research Estimates, California, Texas, Illinois, Florida, New York and New Jersey account for 59 percent of all illegal immigrants residing in the U.S. 

Federally, non-citizens make up around 20 percent of the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) population. Based on 2018 data in Florida, only 4,646 of 96,253 inmates in the state prison system are non-citizens. 

The new bill goes into effect which goes into effect next month across the state.

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