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Senate Democrats Unite In Opposition To Sanctuary Cities Ban

fla sanctuary cities
Ryan Dailey

Florida Senate Democrats voted to reaffirm their opposition to a ban on sanctuary cities moving through the legislature. 

Senate Democrats unanimously voted to condemn the sanctuary cities bill in an emergency caucus meeting Wednesday.

The measure (SB 168), sponsored by Sen. Joe Gruters (R-Sarasota), would prohibit so-called sanctuary cities and would require local governments to cooperate with law enforcement and US Customs and Immigration Enforcement.

The bill has brought immense blowback from advocacy groups like the Florida Immigrant Coalition, and has split support along partisan lines.

Senate Democratic Leader Audrey Gibson (D-Jacksonville) said in a statement announcing the vote the party will continue to fight the bill.

Gibson said the vote signals “our unwavering commitment to the protection of immigrants in this state, and a repudiation of the scapegoating of immigrants in this country.”

Sen. Annette Taddeo (D-Miami), who pushed for the caucus vote, said the bill is purely political and will deter undocumented from reporting crimes.

“The fact is, not even one, sanctuary city in Florida," Tadeo said, speaking at a Capitol rally against the measure. "And what we are creating with this bill, unfortunately, are political terms,” Taddeo said. “A lot of parties like to get credit, and get some points.”

Gruters insists the bill will only come into play when people commit a crime.

“This is meant to have bad, criminal illegal aliens that are getting out of the judicial system, and making sure they are detained, if there is a detainer request, and making sure we eliminate these bad elements from our society,” Gruters said.

The measure has one final stop in the Rules Committee before heading to the floor, but has yet to be put on the committee’s calendar. 

Shawn Mulcahy is a reporter and All Things Considered host for WFSU. He graduated from Florida State University in 2019 with majors in public relations and political science. He was previously an intern at WFSU, and worked as an Account Coordinator at RB Oppenheim Associates.