Eyeing what she sees as overreach by the federal government to combat a phantom problem in Central Florida, state Senator Linda Stewart (D-Orlando) on Thursday urged local officials to join South Miami in its sanctuary cities lawsuit.
“I am writing to encourage you both to join South Miami and the Southern Poverty Law Center in their lawsuit that will challenge Senate Bill 168 known as “Sanctuary City” legislation,” wrote Stewart in a letter to Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer and Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings. “Currently, the State of Florida does not allow for sanctuary cities, nevertheless the legislation was passed and signed into law by Governor DeSantis.”
The preparation of litigation challenging the new law was announced earlier this week by the City of South Miami.
Fiercely opposed by Democrats and immigrant advocacy groups, the anti-immigrant legislation passed by the Republican-led legislature conscripts state and local governments, along with law enforcement into service as de facto federal immigration authorities. Critics also warned that the law would deter individual witnesses and crime victims from reporting criminal acts, fearful of deportation consequences. The law also imposes additional financial burdens on local taxpayers with no guarantees of full reimbursement by the federal government. Surveys conducted by the Florida Department of Corrections on Jail Capacity estimate that this legislation could cost municipalities upwards of $100 a day per individual detained, with minimal reimbursement from the federal government for doing so.
“This bill perpetuates the unsubstantiated trope that Florida has “sanctuary cities”,” said Stewart. “The state already complies with federal law on immigration, and it is not the job of local municipalities to take on the responsibility of rounding up immigrants to serve a political agenda.
“I hope that our local leaders will join the fight against this baseless legislation that has no legitimate purpose and undermines the constitution.”