1. Opinion

Column: Legislature should ban sanctuary cities in Florida

FILE - This July 17, 2015, file photo shows flowers and a portrait of Kate Steinle displayed at a memorial site on Pier 14 in San Francisco, Calif. The bullet that killed Kate Steinle two years ago ricocheted off the ground about 100 yards away before hitting her in the back and later launching a criminal case at the center of a national immigration debate. A San Francisco police officer who helped supervise the investigation testified about the bulletâ\u0080\u009A\u0080\u0099s trajectory Monday, Oct. 30, 2017 at Zarate's trial. (Paul Chinn /San Francisco Chronicle via AP, File) CAFRA902
Published Nov. 13, 2017

In 2015, Kate Steinle was gunned downed on Pier 14 in San Francisco by an illegal alien with five felony convictions, and last week he went on trial for his heinous act. He was in our country because the city of San Francisco, among a growing number of others, is a sanctuary city. Elected officials instruct police and law enforcement to ignore federal immigration law.

This anti-American phenomenon must be stopped, and here in Florida we're doing something about it.

The truth is, something should have already been done. Unfortunately, California responded to that tragedy recently by declaring itself a sanctuary state — a disgusting affront to the rule of law and to the murder of that young woman.

However, if you're wondering whether that could happen here in Florida, my response is simple: Not on my watch. Last week the Florida House introduced HB 9, a bill that prevents sanctuary cities from ever plaguing our state.

Our bill is simple: State and local governments must comply with and support the enforcement of federal immigration laws — end of story. Any elected officials who think they can circumvent the Constitution and the laws of our nation will face significant penalties, along with suspension or removal from office.

Some critics claim sanctuary cities make our communities safer because illegal aliens are more willing to engage with police and report crime. However, a study from the University of Riverside, California, across 55 cities found "no statistically discernible difference in violent crime rates, rape, or property crime."

Moreover, after Phoenix dropped its sanctuary policies, crime plummeted. According to Fox News, the murder rate fell by 27 percent, while robberies, assaults, burglaries and theft all fell by double digits as well. Imagine that — enforcing the law works!

The liberals and pro-amnesty crowd will also be out, trying to smear our effort as uncompassionate, but they're wrong. We have compassion for all people. However, as an elected official, my compassion starts with the citizens of this state and the laws of this nation.

America is the most compassionate nation to ever exist, and we've done more to advance the global well-being of our neighbors than anyone. But if we are unable to protect our own citizens and the rule of law, our society can't survive.

Coincidentally, U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., introduced a similar bill last week in Washington to cut off federal funding to cities and states that provide amnesty to these criminals. And I applaud her efforts on immigration and sanctuary cities.

However, I fear her bill's fate in Congress is tied in a similar fashion to the fate our bill: What will the Senate do? Both here in Florida and in our nation's capital, Republicans control the upper chambers. Yet, while we push a bold conservative agenda through the House, the Senate all too often stymies our progress and reneges on their promises to voters.

However, I am hopeful that the tide is turning. I am hoping that when our legislative session begins, the Senate will help us and stand up to anti-American, pro-amnesty liberals by saying, "No more!"

Because the truth is, if they don't — if they continue to make promises on the campaign trail that go unfulfilled — they won't be coming back for another term. The 2018 election is right around the corner, and what they do over the next few months will play an important role in their political future.

We have the opportunity to put our citizens and our laws first. The Florida Senate should be ready and willing to pass HB 9, because not another American should die at the hands of a criminal illegal alien.

Florida House Speaker Richard Corcoran is a Republican from Land O'Lakes.


  1. Fans enter the stadium for opening day of the Tampa Bay Rays in Tropicana Field in 2018.
    Here’s what readers had to say in Monday’s letters to the editor.
  2. The Constitution of the United States of America AP
    Here’s some interesting commentary from the opposite poles of the political spectrum.
  3. An elderly couple walks down a hall of a nursing home. MATT ROURKE  |  AP
    Here’s what readers had to say in Sunday’s letters to the editor.
  4. A huge number of homes owned by Baby Boomers will sell in the next 20 years. How will the trend affect the Florida housing market? CAMERON GILLIE  |  NAPLES DAILY NEWS
    The enormous generation born between 1946 and 1964 owns about 40 percent of the homes across the country.
  5. The Reed at Encore, one of Tampa's signature affordable housing projects
    Here’s what readers had to say in Saturday’s letters to the editor.
  6. Standardized test scores paint a bleak picture of stagnation, not progress.
  7. Focus on better standard pay and creating classrooms where their students can thrive.
  8. Pastor Jeremiah Saunders poses for a photo among the ruins of his church that was destroyed by Hurricane Dorian, in High Rock, Grand Bahama, Bahamas, on Sept. 11, 2019. RAMON ESPINOSA  |  AP
    Where does “strong” begin and, more important, where does it end? So asks this columnist.
  9. Elementary school students go through the lunch line in the school's cafeteria in Paducah, Kentucky. ELLEN O'NAN  |  AP
    Why, just think of all the savings from cutting school lunch programs, writes Daniel Ruth.
  10. Conservative critics of the Pasco school district's stance on LGBTQ issues have complained to the School Board for a year, and show no indication of backing down. They've been wearing t-shirts saying 'Pasco kids at risk' — something district officials strongly reject. JEFFREY SOLOCHEK  |  Times Staff Writer
    Students offer a lesson in civility and acceptance.