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Corcoran Wants Fed Investigation Of Gillum, Kriseman Over Sanctuary City Positions

State House Speaker Richard Corcoran wants the Department of Homeland Security to investigate two Florida mayors for supporting sanctuary city policies. It’s the latest in Corcoran’s push for attention on the issue.

Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum and St. Petersberg Mayor Rick Kriseman, both Democrats, are being called out for what House Speaker Richard Corcoran says are sanctuary policies, which limit local assistance with federal immigration enforcement. While the City of Tallahassee has no formal sanctuary rules in place, Gillum, who is running for governor, does favor sanctuary policies. And he’s not buying what Corcoran is trying to sell:

"I think the speaker should spend his time on trying to figure out how we make this state one of the most diverse states in the United States, and welcoming place. A place of laws, but also of compassion," he says.

The calling out of Gillum and Kriseman is strategic. Corcoran is widely expected to announce a bid for governor. And he’s selling a proposal to block cities from passing so-called sanctuary laws.

Recently, the Florida House approved Corcoran’s priority. Republican Representative Larry Metz has sponsored the proposal in recent years.

“First of all, the bill defines and prohibits sanctuary policies, and requires repeal of any sanctuary policy in effect within 90 days. It requires state and local governmental entities and law enforcement agencies to cooperate with federal immigration authorities," he said during a presentation on the bill earlier in the month.

House Bill 9 is a long-shot in the Senate.  But Corcoran and Metz may have gotten a boost to their cause.

Courts have ruled federal detainer requests are just that, and local governments can’t be forced to comply. But this week, the U.S. department of Immigration Customs and Enforcement, or ICE—announced a deal with 17 Florida sheriffs that would allow county jails to hold undocumented immigrants who are arrested on local charges in custody until they can be transferred to ICE. Right now many immigrants are released before a transfer can take place, due to concerns over potential lawsuits. The deal includes Pinellas County, home to St. Petersberg Mayor Rick Kriseman.

“When it comes to criminal illegals…they need to go and they need to stay gone and we should all stay committed to that," said Pinellas Sheriff Bob Gualtieri during a press conference Wednesday.

The deal would let local law enforcement hold undocumented immigrants for up to 48 hours and pay the local sheriff’s office up to 50-dollars for doing so. It effectively gives local sheriffs cover from lawsuits and challenges to detention.

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Lynn Hatter is a Florida A&M University graduate with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. Lynn has served as reporter/producer for WFSU since 2007 with education and health care issues as her key coverage areas.  She is an award-winning member of the Capital Press Corps and has participated in the NPR Kaiser Health News Reporting Partnership and NPR Education Initiative. 

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