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

Ana Ceballos, Miami Herald on

Published in News & Features

Lichtman testified that state lawmakers, insisting that the bill was about public safety, contradicted crime rate data from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and federal data on ICE arrests.

He testified that data showed 73% of ICE arrests under cooperative immigration agreements in Florida from 2015 to 2018 involved individuals with no criminal records or a record of minor offenses, whereas only 0.4% involved individuals with no criminal records or a record of minor offenses.

Lichtman concluded that the bill sponsors’ claim that the bill would reduce crime rate and improve public safety “appear to be unsupported by the statistical data on falling crime rates in Florida, despite the simultaneous rise in undocumented immigration.”

No enforcement actions taken

Anna DeCerchio, the governor’s deputy chief of staff, testified in court that the office has not received any complaints and has not investigated or initiated any proceedings to enforce compliance or to remove anyone from office for violating the sanctuary cities law.

The governor’s office also has not taken steps to investigate violations of the law’s anti-discrimination clause to ensure that agencies are complying, she said.


“Nor have any resources been allocated with which to do so because of the lack of complaints received,” DeCerchio testified.

DeSantis’ office did not immediately comment on the ruling. His spokeswoman, Taryn Fenske, said the governor’s legal team is reviewing the 110-page court decision.

Miami Herald Tallahassee Bureau Chief Mary Ellen Klas contributed to this report.


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