Florida's governor vows to sign immigration bill to strengthen sanctuary city ban

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks at a news conference in Okaloosa County on May 18, 2022.jpg
Posted at 3:44 PM, May 18, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-18 15:44:35-04

CRESTVIEW, Fla. — Florida’s governor on Wednesday confirmed his intention to sign a new immigration bill that will strengthen the state’s ban on sanctuary cities.

Gov. Ron DeSantis said all this during another infrastructure award in Okaloosa County. He said to expect ink on the bill in the next couple of weeks.

SB 1808 broadens the state’s sanctuary cities ban in several ways:

  • It requires local police to provide the immigration status of detainees to the state
  • Jails have to participate in federal immigration enforcement training
  • Local governments are prohibited from contracting with transportation companies that take part in programs carrying undocumented into Florida. 

DeSantis also railed on President Joe Biden, saying his immigration policies have allowed "massive numbers" to illegally cross the border.

"You know, honestly, he should be. Biden should be given honorary membership in the Mexican drug cartels," DeSantis said. "Nobody has done more to help the cartels than Biden with his open border policies."

Watch news conference in the video player below:

The comments come as Biden seeks to repeal Title 42, a Trump-backed policy that allowed for more rapid deportations and limits on asylum seekers.

The order started in 2020 as COVID protection, which Biden officials now said is no longer needed.

Meanwhile, state-level Democrats have dubbed DeSantis’ immigration rhetoric as a scare tactic. They said during the session that SB 1808 was political red meat, fighting a nonexistent problem…

"Governor DeSantis and Republican leadership have really tried to make a boogie man out of this because Florida has no sanctuary cities. I'll repeat that. Florida has no sanctuary cities," said Rep. Fentrice Driskell, D-Tampa.

With DeSantis’ pen, SB 1808 has immediate effect. And that’s not all. Lawmakers also approved more than $10 million in the next budget to transport undocumented out of state.