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Miami federal judge blocks Florida from enforcing ban on 'sanctuary cities'

Ana Ceballos, Miami Herald on

Published in News & Features

Bloom said the ban on so-called sanctuary policies “was enacted based on biased and unreliable data generated by anti-immigrant hate groups FAIR [Federation For American Immigration Reform] and CIS [Center for Immigration Studies], despite the chilling effect and disparate impact that this provision would have on immigrant communities.”

“Moreover, the Best Practices Provision anticipated and intended to grant enforcement officers expansive discretion on when and how to use their ‘best efforts,’ despite the knowledge that such proactive policing measures were likely to increase the amount of racial profiling that occurs during law enforcement interactions,” Bloom wrote.

Bloom concluded that “these discriminatory effects were both foreseeable and known to the Legislature at the time of SB 168’s enactment.”

In response to the ruling, Gruters said the “judge was misled as that opinion is not based on facts.”

“This bill was always about public safety and ensuring that illegal aliens are not treated better than Americans when it comes to the judicial system,” he said in a statement to the Herald/Times. “I look forward to this ruling being overturned.”

How the law impacted people


In the case, plaintiffs’ witnesses offered examples of how the law has had a “chilling effect” in immigrant communities. Some testified that more people were victims of domestic violence but refused to involve law enforcement out of fear of deportation. Others said fewer undocumented immigrants are willing to access their healthcare clinics or social services out of fear of being detained.

Marleine Bastien, the executive director of Family Action Network Movement, a nonprofit located in Little Haiti in Miami-Dade County, testified the law led to more calls and inquiries of concern about the law among undocumented immigrants and U.S. citizens.

At one point, she said she participated at a press conference with Miami-Dade Schools Superintendent Alberto Carvalho to “encourage parents to send their kids to school without fear of deportation or other immigration consequences.”

Dr. Allan Lichtman, a professor of history at American University with expertise in statistical and political analysis as well as discriminatory legislative intent and impact, also testified on behalf of plaintiffs.


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