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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

House poised for sanctuary cities vote



The Florida House on Wednesday will vote on legislation to ban so-called sanctuary cities, in which local governments don’t cooperate with federal orders to detain undocumented migrants.

The bill (HB 675) by Rep. Larry Metz, R-Yalaha, would fine local governments that don’t repeal the policies. And it would allow the governor to remove officials from office if they are named in a successful wrongful death suit related to an undocumented immigrant.

As Metz has explained it, the bill targets a handful of counties — most notably Miami-Dade — which may not detain people who are or who they believe to be undocumented immigrants in some cases.

Rep. Jose Javier Rodriguez, D-Miami, said Miami-Dade County sometimes doesn’t detain non-violent offenders because federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement often doesn’t issue deportation orders. He tried to require the state to pay for any additional detainees, although lawmakers voted that down.

“If it’s a low-level thing, Miami-Dade will in some cases not spend those tax dollars in the hope that ICE might come by,” Rodriguez said.

But while Metz points to just a few counties or sheriff’s departments with sanctuary policies, a study released by the American Civil Liberties Union of Florida says at least 30 of Florida’s 67 counties could be impacted, including the entire Tampa Bay and South Florida regions.

The chamber will vote Wednesday afternoon in its 3 p.m. session on the Metz proposal.

Other legislation targeting undocumented immigrants continues to move through the Florida House. On Tuesday, the House Health Care Appropriations Subcommittee approved a bill by Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fort Walton Beach, that would include wages earned by undocumented immigrants in determining state welfare benefits for their family members.

And Rep. Carlos Trujillo, R-Miami, is pushing legislation giving state criminal penalties to previously deported people who re-enter the state.

Similar proposals are not moving in the Senate.

[Last modified: Tuesday, February 2, 2016 6:15pm]


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