Amien Kacou, Erin Coleman: The Senate’s anti-sanctuary bill will not protect Floridians. We have the data to prove it.

sanctuary bill
This bill does not solve any problems. It creates problems for everyone.

This week, the Florida Senate will vote on SB 168, a bill that aims to permanently transform this state’s local law enforcement into an arm of ICE’s sprawling deportation system.

The bill has been denounced by public interest groups and business groups alike. The Agriculture Commissioner, Nikki Fried, has described it as “dangerous for immigrant communities working to build better lives for their families.”

But the bill’s sponsor, state Senator Joe Gruters, insists that the “only people who will be impacted by” the proposed law are “bad criminal illegal aliens,” and that “[i]f you are an illegal immigrant here in Florida and you’re trying to be a contributing member of society, your kids are going to school, and you’re not breaking the law, you have nothing to worry about.”

We analyzed jail records in three counties — Miami-Dade, Hillsborough and Escambia — for the claim that arrest requests sent by ICE to these counties (so-called “ICE detainers”) primarily target people with serious offenses. We found that, since 2017, less than one-third of the people ICE asked Miami-Dade to arrest for deportation were being charged with what Florida law considers “dangerous crimes.” The others included numerous U.S. citizens who were falsely detained for ICE after a mere arrest, mostly on low-level charges.

In Hillsborough and Escambia, driver’s license violations, traffic charges and civil offenses accounted for the majority of the arrests. Living in Florida, where 4 in 5 people drive themselves to work every day, but where proof of citizenship or lawful immigration status is required to obtain a driver’s license, undocumented immigrants who are “contributing members of society” — the people senator Gruters promises not to target — are at risk of deportation under SB 168 every day they drive to work.

In reality, SB 168 will harm public safety by diverting millions of dollars and other resources away from the prosecution of serious crimes.

It will also burden due process and local court systems for all. An analysis shared with us by Miami-Dade’s Community Justice Project, for example, showed that 68 percent of those who were detained by local law enforcement at ICE’s request in February 2019 had not been convicted of a crime. Additionally, recent ICE data shows that a majority of people the agency deported nationwide either had no criminal convictions or had unlawful entry or re-entry to the U.S. as their most serious crime.

SB 168 is an anti-immigrant bill that will also harm U.S. citizens and lawful residents often caught in ICE’s net. By increasing deportations and forcing family separations, it is also guaranteed to harm the already burdened foster care system and to create other socio-economic costs in a state where an estimated 1 in 14 children is a U.S. citizen living with at least one undocumented family member. SB168 does not target “bad criminals.” It does separate hardworking parents from their children.

This bill does not solve any problems. It creates problems for everyone.


Amien Kacou is a staff attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union of Florida. Erin Coleman is a Ph.D. Candidate at the University of New Mexico.

Guest Author


  • Leanne King

    April 25, 2019 at 11:19 am

    opinions.. Where are the specifics within the bill to support your opinions? Thank you

    • gary

      April 25, 2019 at 1:10 pm

      In case you have not noticed Leanne, this media news outlet is biased like all national news outlets. They have an agenda like #FakeNews however, they seem to be not deleting comments that are counter to their positions as of yet. Though, I think that will change in the future! As for this subject, It bothers me beyond belief that a law even needs to be created to protect
      American citizens from ILLEGAL ALIENS! The founding fathers would have hung these Democrats!

  • Linda Montalbano

    April 30, 2019 at 8:01 pm

    letter I am sending out to Senator Booker he don’t want illegal aliens in NJ and I don’t want them in Florida

    April 20, 2019
    Attention: Senator Corey Booker:

    RE: Response to you not wanting illegal aliens in your sanctuary state of NJ.

    I don’t understand? Against the laws of the US the state you represent, NJ is a sanctuary state. Why don’t you want illegal aliens? You violated your oath of office to support the invasion of our country. Now you expect the border states to take in all the attackers? Maybe you need to speak to the border state Governors of California, New Mexico, Arizona, Texas, Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi, Florida and ask them how much they want open borders and welcome all the uninvited illegal aliens into their homes, cars and places of business.

    Look at some of the things you will be exposing NJ residences who chose not to vaccinate their children for fear of Autism.

    Guatemalan Child Thought to Have Measles April 19, 2019: “…Guatemalan national in the custody of Yuma Sector Border Patrol previously diagnosed with the measles underwent further testing and received corrected diagnoses of strep throat Thursday.”, “…group of 39 subjects who illegally crossed the Colorado River…”, “…illegal aliens from Guatemala and Honduras.”, “…child and her father were quarantined…”

    A sanctuary state California, like NJ, is up and prepared to deal with Poop patrols in “San Francisco DROWNING In FECES Launches DESPERATE Effort Clean Up After FILTHY Residents”. (NOTE: law to clean up your dogs’ poop but not yours)

    I know NJ gets cold in the winter (NOTE: not like San Francisco) so all the people sleeping on the streets are going to need shelter.

    The need for more bilingual teachers is going to be a must since very few of the illegal aliens speak English and they expect you to speak their language.
    Moving people to another state is appropriate and it was done because of Hurricane Katrina. It was not safe for people to stay in Louisiana so they moved many of them to NJ. They put people in old military bases in NJ, maybe the buildings are still there and can be opened to house the illegal aliens? It was good enough for US citizens after Katrina. I know because as a special education advocate, I was asked to come and explain to the parents why their children had to be evaluated for special education when they were receiving none. Education in the south is not as good as the north. I know because I help parents do due process hearings.

    Now that you have spent over $300,000,000 and wasting over 2 years of doing nothing to address the needs of the people of NJ and the entire US I would like to see you address the following:

    A wall on the border.
    Health insurance

    You may have been elected in NJ but you are a US senator and have a job and responsibility to address the needs of all of us in all 50 states and territories. Stop your personal agenda and focus on the nation. It is time to accept President Trump is in charge of the country and not Mrs. Clinton.

Comments are closed.


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