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Will a proposal banning 'sanctuary policies' gain legislative traction?

Over the last month, it's undoubtedly seemed as if all of the noteworthy developments in the area of immigration law have been occurring at the federal level. While it's certainly true that there has yet to be a dull moment since the recent change in presidential administrations, it's important not to overlook that there have been equally important -- and equally controversial -- developments taking place at the state level.

By way of example, consider the measure known as the "Rule of Law Adherence Act," recently introduced by Rep. Larry Metz (R-Yalaha) and Sen. Aaron Bean (R-Fernandina Beach), which calls for a crackdown on "sanctuary policies" here in the Sunshine State. 

What exactly is a sanctuary policy?

Under the language of the Rule of Law Adherence Act, otherwise known as House Bill 697 or Senate Bill 786, a local, state or law enforcement agency enacts a "sanctuary policy" when it adopts or otherwise permits any policy, procedure, practice, custom or law that "contravenes, or ... knowingly prohibits or impedes a law enforcement agency from communicating or cooperating with a federal immigration agency with respect to federal immigration enforcement."

What would be expected of government entities then?  

In addition to prohibiting the adoption of sanctuary policies, the legislation calls for local, state or law enforcement agencies to repeal any such policies within 90 days, fully comply and support federal immigration efforts, and for officials to report known or probable violations, and for the attorney general to investigate these reports.

What if a government entity or official is found to have adopted a sanctuary policy?  

Government entities/officials would be subject to the following punishment for violations under the measure:

  • A fine of $5,000 per day if found to be noncompliant starting October 1, 2017
  • Withholding of state grant funding for five years
  • Removal from office by the governor (for officials)
  • Exposure to lawsuits in the event an undocumented person injures or kills another as a result of the sanctuary policy

Why does this look familiar?

Rep. Metz and Sen. Bean introduced a similar measure during last year's session that passed the House, but was never given consideration in the Senate.

What are the chances it passes?

Political experts indicate that it remains unclear whether the incredibly controversial bill stands a chance of becoming law, as it will encounter considerable backlash from both Democratic lawmakers and immigration advocacy groups.

Stay tuned for updates ...

If you have concerns relating to deportation, permanent residency or any other immigration-related matter, you should strongly consider speaking with a skilled legal professional who can fight to enforce your rights.

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