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Citing Police Role and Trust, South Miami Will Challenge New Law Banning Sanctuary Cities

| July 11, 2019

They have a hard enough job as it is. (South Miami Police)

They have a hard enough job as it is. (South Miami Police)

The city of South Miami is preparing to fight a controversial new law aimed at banning so-called “sanctuary cities,” after commissioners unanimously agreed Tuesday to hire an attorney to handle the legal challenge.

The ban, signed into law by Gov. Ron DeSantis last month, was one of the most fiercely fought issues of the 2019 legislative session that ended in May. The measure came after DeSantis vowed during his 2018 campaign to prevent sanctuary cities.


The law is designed to spur local law-enforcement agencies to fully comply with federal immigration detainers and share information with federal immigration authorities after undocumented immigrants are in custody. Under the new law, local governments are required to “use their best efforts to support the enforcement of federal immigration law.”

But, during a brief special meeting Tuesday evening, South Miami Mayor Philip Stoddard echoed critics’ concerns that the law would discourage undocumented residents from reporting crimes.

“Our police are responsible for maintaining the public safety, and as soon as they are seen as somebody who might turn you in if you called for assistance, they’re no longer trusted and they can no longer do their primary job of keeping all the citizens and all the residents of a community safe,” Stoddard said. “It creates divisions.”

Stoddard, who said the city had been approached about the lawsuit by the Southern Poverty Law Center, said the statute is vague and overrides local authority.

“This state-level anti-sanctuary movement not only looks to repeal local sanctuary policies, it is also aimed at eliminating the discretion that local communities have traditionally exercised over their involvement in federal immigration enforcement efforts,” the resolution approved by the city commission states.

City Attorney Thomas Pepe warned the commission that several economic issues could arise from complying with the law, such as a lack of reimbursement from federal agencies and potential lawsuits against the city.

“If the city detains someone and there is no warrant, and nine times out of 10 there is no warrant other than an administrative warrant, the city could be liable for a due-process, equal-protection kind of claim that could be filed by the person that was detained by the city,” Pepe said.

When signing the bill into law in June, DeSantis said the measure will help ensure the safety of communities.

“This is about the rule of law,” he said at the time. “It’s also about public safety.”

But opponents blasted the governor for signing the measure, which was sponsored by Sen. Joe Gruters, a Sarasota Republican who doubles as chairman of the Republican Party of Florida, and Rep. Cord Byrd, R-Neptune Beach. Critics of the proposal have argued, in part, that the law will lead to increased detention and deportation of undocumented immigrants, including people stopped by police for minor offenses.

An arm of the Southern Poverty Law Center previously issued a statement alleging that the measure violates the U.S. Constitution’s Fourth Amendment ban on unreasonable seizure.

“The legislation signed by Governor DeSantis today is unconstitutional, and Republican lawmakers knew this when they fast-tracked the bill to appease anti-immigrant voters and use racial grievance to drive a wedge between Floridians,” Scott McCoy, senior policy counsel for the SPLC Action Fund, said after the governor signed the measure. “This law forces local and state police to detain people for federal immigration authorities without probable cause.”

–Jim Turner, News Service of Florida

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9 Responses for “Citing Police Role and Trust, South Miami Will Challenge New Law Banning Sanctuary Cities”

  1. Common sense says:

    What about the CITIZEN’s trust of police to protect them from illegal immigrants committing crimes? Not saying that all of them are here committing crimes other than them breaking the law just being here, but it just makes no sense. Just don’t understand the liberal mindset of allowing people to live in our country undocumented, but still receive government assistance and protection. Come to this country the right way or face the consequences. It’s a slap in the face for every immigrant that did it the right way.

  2. Dave says:

    This is a no brainer. Keep Miami as a sanctuary city. More cities should look into this option. The last thing we need is our local police acting like federal officers, and doing their bidding. Keep our undocumented brothers and sisters safe!

  3. Frank says:

    Let the local police Officer determine whether he/she wants to report someone to ICE. Some people may be criminals and need to be deported.

  4. The Realist says:

    Since they don’t want to comply with Federal law…revoke all grants they get from the Feds and the state. Bleeding heart liberals never look at the big picture of what’s going on here. These people coming into our country are using medical services they aren’t paying for which the rest of us pay for in higher costs because the hospitals have to recoup their loss, they are using social programs intended for actual citizens when they are in need, and a host of other ways they are draining the coffers of the safety net intended for our citizens. You need to look at America as a big picnic….illegals are the ones that show up and don’t bring a covered dish…..but man are they hungry….

  5. Sherry says:

    Not to confuse the fear filled, biased FOX/trump cult with actual FACTS. . . studies show the crime rate for undocumented migrants to be significantly LOWER than the native born citizens of the USA.

    This from the CATO Institute:

    Texas is an ideal state to study criminality by immigration status for multiple reasons: the state of Texas borders Mexico; it has a large illegal immigrant population; it is a politically conservative state governed by Republicans; in 2015 it did not have jurisdictions that limited its cooperation with federal immigration enforcement; and it has a law and order reputation for severely enforcing its criminal laws.

    Convictions
    Natives were convicted of 409,708 crimes, illegal immigrants were convicted of 15,803 crimes, and legal immigrants were convicted of 17,785 crimes in Texas in 2015. Thus, there were 1,797 criminal convictions of natives for every 100,000 natives, 899 criminal convictions of illegal immigrants for every 100,000 illegal immigrants, and 611 criminal convictions of legal immigrants for every 100,000 legal immigrants (Figure 1). As a percentage of their respective populations, there were 50 percent fewer criminal convictions of illegal immigrants than of native-born Americans in Texas in 2015. The criminal conviction rate for legal immigrants was about 66 percent below the native-born rate.

  6. gmath55 says:

    Lets just cut and paste whatever fits our narrative. LOL

    Many people have claimed recently that illegal immigrants are less likely to commit crimes than native-born U.S. citizens. Verdict: Unsubstantiated https://www.westernjournal.com/fact-check-illegal-immigrants-commit-crime-lower-rate-us-born-citizens/

    A 2009 CIS report on immigration and crime notes that the deportation of criminal aliens may play a role in reducing their incarceration rates because many will not re-enter the country and commit more crimes, whereas native-born criminals may commit repeat offenses. “Prosecutors are known to sometimes drop pending charges against non-citizens once ICE indicates it will deport the alien, thereby sweeping the case off the prosecutor’s docket,” it said.

    “Incarceration rates is only one of several different possible measures,” Nowrasteh said. “I wish that I could measure the crime committed by illegal immigrants that is either not reported nor prosecuted. Doing so would give a full and complete understanding of crime in the United States. Unfortunately, that’s impossible.”

  7. Alphonse Abonte says:

    Don’t # walkaway from the Democrats, #runaway!

  8. Alphonse Abonte says:

    “Those who enter the country illegally and those who employ them disrespect the rule of law.
    They are showing disregard for those who are following the law. We cannot allow people to pour into the U.S. undetected, undocumented, unchecked, and circumventing the line of people who are waiting lawfully to become immigrants.”

    THINK TRUMP SAID THAT?

    NOPE

    THAT WAS BARACK OBAMA IN 2005.

    WAKE UP AMERICA!

  9. Name (required) says:

    Alphonse, I don’t think you understand how hashtags work. Also, take a day off from the Tv, internet and the confounding “news” media, turn off the phone (actually..destroy it,) stop seething about your misconceptions of partisan politics and just relax. One day. Just one. You’ll feel better, promise.

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