Sanctuary cities ban ready for final vote in both chambers

By: Mike Vasilinda | Capitol News Service

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (CSN) — A Senate committee in the State Capitol has cleared the way for a vote of the full Senate on banning sanctuary jurisdictions in Florida.

It requires local law enforcement to comply with federal detainer orders and hold an undocumented immigrant who has committed a crime for up to 48 hours.

Kiyan and Bobby Michael have been fighting for immigration reform since their son, Brandon, was hit and killed in 2007 by a driver who was in the country illegally.

“This should never have happened. If the laws that we had on the books at the time had been enforced, all of this could have been avoidable,” said Kiyan.

The Michaels were invited by Governor Ron DeSantis to his first State of the State address.

“Now, their son Brandon was killed by a foreign national who was illegally in our country, had been deported two prior times,” said DeSantis.

Sponsors of the legislation, which is on a fast track to becoming law, say it will stop about 4,600 people in state and county jails from being immediately released.

“This bill only deals with criminals who are going through the process or are in the judicial system right now,” said Senate Sponsor Joe Gruters. "This is about keeping all Floridians safe.”

Since the governor was sworn in and talked about ending sanctuary cities in his inaugural address, the number of counties complying with federal law has gone from 29 to 34.

The 17-member Senate Democratic Caucus unanimously opposed the legislation, fearing it will make undocumented crime victims afraid to come forward.

“We shouldn’t put individuals in a position to make those type of decisions,” said Senator Perry Thurston.

But, the Michaels say they know what permanent separation from their child is like. Brandon was preparing to get married when he was hit and killed.

“What we have experienced is horrific. It’s a loss no one should have to go through,” said Kiyan.

Both the House and Senate bills could be on the governor’s desk as early as next week.

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