ACLU: So-called ‘sanctuary cities’ ban leads to infringement of citizens’ rights
Photo by Bob Nichols.

Migrant Farm Workers
Study shows ICE detainers popped wrongly for many in Miami.

ACLU leaders say so-called “sanctuary cities” legislation will require Florida law enforcement to participate in legally unsound immigration policy.

“If these bills pass, it would undermine local governments’ ability to protect the civil rights of their residents,” writes Micah Kubic, executive director of the ACLU of Florida.

Bills filed in the state Senate (SB 168) and House (HB 527) require cooperation between local authorities and federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Senate legislation as of now requires jails check ICE records and hold individuals in custody for two days if detainer orders exist. In a memo to editorial boards, Kubic makes the case such a statute will lead to infringement of individuals’ rights.

State Sen. Joe Gruters, the bill’s sponsor, said the bill will impact only criminals previously deported or those who committed violent offenses before. He lashed out at the ACLU’s travel advisory earlier this week.

“The ACLU should be ashamed of themselves. They are adding to the fear mongering and spewing misinformation. Follow the law,” he wrote on Twitter.

“Florida will pass SB#168 and we will follow the rule of law. This is race baiting and it is pushing a false narrative on reality.”

But the ACLU maintains the bill will force local police agencies to “cooperate with unlawful immigration enforcement requests.”

Those detainers open numerous legal problems, the civil rights advocates suggest.

“It would require Florida law enforcement to detain individuals against their will without a judicial determination of probable cause,” Kubic wrote.

“It would also expose immigrants to more violence, by potentially forcing victims and witnesses to stay silent for fear of deportation.”

Gruters in Senate hearings said he believes undocumented immigrants enjoy constitutional rights. But he said detainers will pop up for individuals in violation of past deportation orders, not undocumented people stopped for small offenses.

That’s not always true, ACLU leaders said, and ICE records may create problems for U.S. citizens.

Kubic cites an ACLU study, “Citizens On Hold,” that found persistent errors with detainers. Those resulted in illegal holds for dozens, if not hundreds, of U.S. citizens in Miami alone.

“Between February 2017 and February 2019, ICE sent 420 detainer requests for people who were listed as U.S. citizens in Miami’s records,” Kubic noted, “which means nearly four requests every single week.”

Those wrong detainers disproportionately impacted black and Latino citizens, the report said.

Researchers noted ICE canceled 83 such requests.

“But ICE often fails to cancel detainers for U.S. citizens, including in Miami and other Florida counties,” Kubic wrote, “meaning the total number of U.S. citizens the agency targeted likely exceeds this figure.”

Nevertheless, the legislation has advanced in both chambers of the Legislature this year on party-line votes.

The House Judiciary Committee will hear the legislation on Tuesday, while the Senate Rules Committee takes up the bill Wednesday for its final committee stop there.

But Kubic hopes lawmakers consider the potential of violating citizens’ rights before advancing proposals any further.

“This evidence should serve as sufficient notice to other counties and to Florida legislators that requiring Florida law enforcement agencies to comply with ICE detainers will only expose Florida entities to damages liability for constitutional violations by threatening basic civil rights held by all Floridians,” Kubic wrote.

Jacob Ogles

Jacob Ogles has covered politics in Florida since 2000 for regional outlets including SRQ Magazine in Sarasota, The News-Press in Fort Myers and The Daily Commercial in Leesburg. His work has appeared nationally in The Advocate, Wired and other publications. Events like SRQ’s Where The Votes Are workshops made Ogles one of Southwest Florida’s most respected political analysts, and outlets like WWSB ABC 7 and WSRQ Sarasota have featured his insights. He can be reached at [email protected].


  • gary

    April 13, 2019 at 1:02 pm

    The ACLU, or as I refer to them as the “unAmerican Civil Liability Union” has ceased being an organization that is proactive in constitutional enforcement matters. They are now a terrorist organization for the Democrat party and the global elites. They should be removed from American soil.

  • Jim Fox

    April 13, 2019 at 7:15 pm

    Make no mistake, Democrats want this. They will with hold support allowing as many illegal aliens to enter the country before assisting in border security. Dems offer rewards, incentives so…..More caravans on the way. The current migration at our border is costing U.S taxpayers a Kings ransom. Fleeing persecution? or fleeing for freebies? they sure don’t stay in Mexico when they reach “safety” or ask or offered political asylum in Mexico. Why? because Mexico will give them NOTHING. So they make the long journey to our border, our generous Democrats, and our tax dollars. Notice how many have made the long, difficult, dangerous journey to our country 8-9 months pregnant? Give birth on American soil and the U.S. taxpayers will not only pay for the birth of you’re child but will also give you state government assistance.

    TPS / DACA
    To Democrats/Progressives/Socialists (whats the difference?) programs like Temporary Protective Status (TPS) or Deferred Action for Childhood arrivals (DACA) are permanent programs. There is nothing “temporary or deferred” about these programs to Democrats. These programs are designed to admit refugees (usually from the third world) then Democrats fight to keep them here permanently using the charge of racism, religion, guilt against anyone opposed. Simple formula works great.

    It seems Democrats view U.S. citizens as acceptable collateral damage to their future long range goals of flooding the country with refugees & illegal aliens and having taxpayers paying the cost. Democrat politicians and their voters have put families at risk of being victimized by illegal aliens as in the cases Kate Steinly (nothing done) then, Mollie Tibbetts, (nothing done) Police Cpl. Ronil Singh, (nothing done) now Bambi Larson; butchered in her home, nothing will be done…who’s next? These victims would be alive today if our border was secured. Most of these killers have been deported numerous times. Bambi ‘s killer claimed “amnesty” to get into the country.

    Google search “illegal alien crime” or “victims.”

    Just a few examples of the more outrageous costs associated with illegal immigration, we will pass this burden on to our children & grand children as has been passed on to us.

    *Cost of educating illegal aliens is staggering. From K-12 it costs taxpayers on average $122,000 for EACH illegal alien student. This does not include the millions spent on bilingual ED, instructors, special need children & day care. School class size are negatively impacted by illegal aliens and our students suffer as a result.

    *Taxpayers in some states are funding “in state college tuition” discounts for illegal aliens. (AZ voted to terminate this taxpayer expense.) Cost to taxpayers over a billion dollars annually.

    *About one in five inmates in federal prison are foreign-born, & more than 90% of those are in the U.S illegally. This does not include local jails and state prisons. At roughly $24,000 per year expense per inmate.

    *$3Million Dollars a DAY is spent to incarcerate, process Illegal aliens in the criminal justice system.

    *Mexico received 33 billion last year in remittance from our country. $120 billion total was sent out of the United States in total remittance last year.

    *Every child birth by illegal aliens in the U.S is paid for with tax dollars.In the US, the average cost to have a baby without complications during delivery, is $10,808, which can increase to $30,000 when factoring in care provided before and after pregnancy (July 9, 2018 google.)

    * Section 8 housing. Illegal aliens take full advantage of this program. Citizens & their families in poverty in many cases wait years behind non citizens for emergency housing.

    * City emergency services Taxpayer pay for every police, fire, paramedic service call for illegal aliens in their city. Taxpayers also pay for all hospital, emergency room treatments, ambulances, medications….everything. Hospital wait times for citizens are negatively impacted.

    • gary

      April 13, 2019 at 8:23 pm

      well said

Comments are closed.


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