State Representative Larry Metz (R-Yalaha) filed House Bill 675 related to federal immigration enforcement that would effectively ban sanctuary policies in Florida.
Named the Rule of Law Adherence Act, HB 675 prohibits state agencies and local governments from adopting sanctuary policies that thwart enforcement of existing federal immigration law and provides consequences if they fail to comply.
Metz's bill contains a finding that "in the interest of public safety and adherence to federal law, this state shall support federal immigration enforcement efforts and ensure that such efforts are not impeded or thwarted by state or local laws, policies, practices, procedures, or customs."
Although federal law already requires cooperation from state and local governments, there are no penalties associated with failing to comply. To address this problem, the bill:
- Requires state or local governmental entities or officials to cooperate with federal immigration authorities, and prohibits them from in any way restricting another state or local governmental entity or official or law enforcement agency from sending to or receiving from a federal immigration agency or federal immigration official, information regarding the citizenship or immigration status of an individual;
- Prohibits a state or local governmental entity or official from limiting or restricting the enforcement of federal immigration law, including requmng compliance with immigration detainer requests from federal officials;
- Requires a state or local governmental official to promptly report a known or probable violation of the law to the Attorney General or the State Attorney having jurisdiction over the local governmental entity;
- Authorizes the Attorney General or a State Attorney to institute proceedings in circuit court to enjoin a state entity, state official, law enforcement agency, local governmental entity or local governmental official who violates the law and authorizes the court to enter injunctive relief and impose a civil penalty of at least $1,000 but not more than $5,000 for each day that the sanctuary policy or practice was found to be in effect before the injunction was granted;
- Provides a way for residents to file formal complaints about sanctuary policies to the Attorney General's Office; and
- Waives sovereign immunity and creates a civil cause of action for personal injury or wrongful death attributed to a sanctuary policy, which will allow those entities and their officials creating the sanctuary policy that allowed the illegal immigrant to have access to the victim of the tort to be held personally liable for the damages suffered by the victim of the illegal immigrant's tortious acts or omissions.
"Although the federal government has primary responsibility for the enforcement of the nation's immigration laws, state and local governments must cooperate with federal officials in the enforcement of existing federal immigration law", Metz said.
"It is simply unacceptable for any state or local government entity to adopt a sanctuary policy that thwarts federal enforcement and encourages or rewards illegal immigrants, and shields them from the consequences of their actions. This legislation simply seeks adherence to the rule of law and holds accountable those who would flaunt it."
An identical bill was filed in the Florida Senate by State Senator Aaron Bean, R-Femandina Beach.
State Representative Larry Metz filed House Bill 675 related to federal immigration enforcement. The bill is intended to strengthen cooperation with the current Federal laws. (Photo by Mike Corradino)