Florida House of Representatives passes legislation concerning federal immigration laws

Jose Verdugo
Enero 13, 2018

With reported comments by President Donald Trump inflaming an already-raw immigration debate, the deeply divided Florida House on Friday passed a proposal to ban "sanctuary cities' in the state".

The measure (HB 9) would strictly ban "sanctuary city" policies and penalize local officials for upholding them. It also eliminates state grant money for cities in violation of the law for five years. The 71-35 vote was down party lines. Democrats and immigration advocates say the bill could lead to racial profiling and would force local police officers to get proof of immigration status from everyone they arrest.

Debate in the House centered around recent comments reportedly made by President Donald Trump about Haiti and African nations at a meeting with lawmakers Thursday.

"If the remarks attributed to President Trump are accurate, they have no place in our public discourse", the statement said.

"Let's talk about the rule of law".

"I do not share those sentiments. I do not support them, they are out of bounds", said Rep. Byron Donalds, R-Naples.

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It's a move that critics say is more of a political statement by Speaker Richard Corcoran, R-Land O'Lakes, who is expected to announce his candidacy for governor after the session ends in March.

The bill has been passed by the House in previous years, but has never passed the Senate. "Our local law enforcement agencies' core responsibility is to protect and serve their communities, not assume the burden of enforcing federal immigration law". Also among the sixteen bills being heard this afternoon are a repeal of Florida's no-fault auto insurance system (HB 19) and legislation that would set new barriers to local tax increases (HB 7).

Democrats suspect Corcoran is trying to build up his conservative credentials ahead of a crowded GOP primary with Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam and U.S. Rep. "Of course you can't", said Rep. Evan Jenne, D-Dania Beach. "That's what this is".

Rep. Bob Cortes, R-Altamonte Springs, however, said he had no qualms about voting for the bill and was never pressured by Corcoran or House leadership.

Representative Ross Spano said, "Rejecting the rule of law, members, has profound consequences".

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