ORLANDO, Fla. – State legislators are back in Tallahassee and one of the issues on the agenda is immigration.
The issues on the U.S.-Mexico border have rekindled the debate.
News 6 took a look at what Republican lawmakers want to change and the potential impact.
“What this bill really is about is trying to lift the bail of secrecy in how the federal government is currently conducting its relocation efforts in trying to ensure that the state of Florida and our local municipalities and our local governments have a seat at the table to really know who is coming in and where are they going,” Rep. John Snyder said about his proposal, HB 1355, which was filed after Gov. Ron DeSantis commented the issues at the southern border.
“Rather than defend our sovereignty and enforce the border, the federal government has released hundreds of thousands of illegal aliens to communities across the US, shipping them to Florida at alarming rates,” DeSantis said during his State of the State address,” DeSantis said.
Snyder’s bill and Senator Aaron Bean’s SB 1808 bill would both prevent any city from becoming a sanctuary for undocumented people.
The bill requires all 67 counties in the state to cooperate with immigration officials. Currently, 48 counties do so.
“They’re trying to make a statement. The counties that would be punished for this are largely Democratic counties so this is pretty safe for the Republicans to pass legislation punishing the Democratic counties,” political analyst Jim Clark said. “These bills have become kind of an annual thing to crack down on cities and frankly this is not a problem of the cities offering refuge from authorities.”
Immigration attorney Camila Pachón Silva worries the bills could deter people from reporting a crime.
“Somebody who is undocumented and who is a victim of a crime may be afraid of calling the local police because they think that they’re gonna call immigration on them,” Pachón Silva said. “It’s not only an issue of just civil rights and human rights in our communities, but it’s also a financial issue because then they’re asking the local jails to spend more money in holding people longer.”
Even if the proposals pass it’s still within the power of the federal government to decide who is deportable and who is not. Under the current administration not every undocumented person is deportable.
“A big part of what this bill is about is bringing forth transparency so where we can know who are receiving services? Who is coming into our jails?” Snyder said.
The bills still have to pass by several committees before they go to the Florida House and Senate floors for a vote.
“It’ll be interesting to see if anything comes of that. This has been attempted a number of times before and nothing happens,” Clark said.