Gainesville City Commissioners to Monitor Sanctuary City Litigation

Gainesville City Commissioners to Monitor Sanctuary City Litigation
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Florida Senate Bill 168

Florida Senate Bill 168

(SB 168) addresses “sanctuary cities” and contains five separate parts, one of which does not allow a city to have a sanctuary policy for immigrants residing within its municipal boundaries. Cities across the state of Florida have taken different approaches to the immigration issue in the United States. The City of South Miami passed a resolution challenging SB 168’s constitutionality, claiming it violates the supremacy, due process, and equal protection clauses of the U.S. Constitution.

Gainesville, on the other hand, has decided not to have a sanctuary policy because doing so would make it unable to prove cooperation with federal law – putting the city at risk of losing its federal funding. That being said, Gainesville city staff finds no factual or legal basis to jump into the pending lawsuit. This is because the city and Gainesville Police Department (GPD) have standing orders that state that all individuals, regardless of race or citizenship, have basic rights and privileges under the law. Likewise, the order states that the GPD must provide assistance to anyone in need and is prohibited from engaging in federal immigration enforcement. Back in 2016, the City of Gainesville was the first in Florida to be given the title of “Welcoming City” after commissioners passed a more immigrant-friendly city resolution.

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America’s Immigration Issues

Across the nation, the immigration debate remains heated and has been for years. Due to the recent uptick in advocacy and enforcement, many immigrants are worried. Florida is no exception, as it has a high population of immigrants throughout the state. Below is some basic information on immigration detention and/or deportation:

Immigration Customs and Enforcement (ICE) officials have the authority to deport individuals who:

  • Have entered the United States without documentation;
  • Have entered the country with legal documentation that has expired; and/or
  • Are legal permanent residents or green card holders who have committed certain crimes.

Of note, a United States citizen should never be deported out of the country.

In Florida, the two largest immigration programs are (1) Secure Communities and (2) the 287g program. Secure Communities is statewide and is implemented in all Florida counties, allowing law enforcement officers to check fingerprints in federal databases for all who are arrested. Should the federal database indicate that someone is not legally in the U.S., ICE is notified and an immigration case is started against the individual. The 287g program, on the other hand, exists in three Florida counties — Bay, Collier, and Duval. Under 287g, law enforcement officers have the authority to enforce immigration laws both in the prisons and out on the streets.

Back in 2016, the City of Gainesville was the first in Florida to be given the title of “Welcoming City” after commissioners passed a more immigrant-friendly city resolution.

Legal Help with Immigration in Florida

Immigration law is complicated. Moreover, many immigrants do not know their rights and are afraid to enforce them. If you or someone you know is facing immigration troubles – whether it be detainment, deportation, or simply applying for status – Bogin, Munns & Munns can help. Our experienced immigration attorneys are knowledgeable in all aspects of immigration law and can guide you through this complicated process.  Contact us today to schedule your immigration consultation.

NOTICE: The article above is not intended to serve as legal advice, and you should not rely on it as such. It is offered only as general information. You should consult with a duly licensed attorney regarding your Florida legal matter, as every situation is unique. Please know that merely reading this article, subscribing to this blog, or otherwise contacting Bogin, Munns & Munns does not establish an attorney-client relationship with our firm. Should you seek legal representation from Bogin, Munns & Munns, any such representation must first be agreed to by the firm and confirmed in a written agreement.

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