City of South Miami files lawsuit against state of Florida over sanctuary policy ban

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Posted at 11:37 AM, Jul 16, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-16 11:37:17-04

MIAMI (AP) — The city of South Miami and a coalition of immigrant advocates sued Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on Tuesday over a new law that forces local law enforcement agencies to cooperate with federal immigration officials.

The lawsuit filed by lawyers with the Southern Poverty Law Center says the new law will erode trust in law enforcement and lead to racial profiling. It says brown and black people will be subject to harassment by law enforcement because they might be perceived as foreigners.

DeSantis signed the bill into law last month to ban "sanctuary" polices.

The new law prohibits local governments from enacting polices that protect immigrants in the country illegally from deportation. It requires law enforcement officers to honor U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement detainers for immigrants in the country illegally who are arrested or convicted of a crime. It exempts crime victims and witnesses.

Opponents have said the law would cause people to be deported for minor offenses like traffic infractions.

DeSantis has a close relationship with President Donald Trump, who made illegal immigration a top priority. Trump helped DeSantis win the GOP primary last year and campaigned for DeSantis in the general election. DeSantis pushed the Legislature to pass the bill. Republican Sen. Joe Gruters, who also chairs the Republican Party of Florida, sponsored the bill and repeatedly argued it was simply about following the rule of law.

The lawsuit says some victims of domestic abuse, rape and human trafficking won't report the crimes out of fear of being deported.