March 27, 2019
Florida law seeks to ban sanctuary cities…there are no sanctuary cities in Florida
From Think Progress:
Senate Bill 168, and its sister legislation HB 527 in the House, would prevent municipalities from designating themselves as sanctuary cities — despite the fact that no sanctuary cities currently exist in the state of Florida. Nearly every municipality already shares information with federal immigration authorities, but the new bill would require local law enforcement to comply with federal requests to detain undocumented immigrants for potential deportation proceedings. Immigration activists worry that the bill will incentivize racial profiling and fracture the fragile trust between immigrant communities and local police.
The bill is the result of a backroom deal that, while requiring law enforcement to cooperate with federal authorities, has Florida opt out of the E-verify system that checks employment status. The reasons are pretty clear: The business community in Florida relies on undocumented workers, and does not want to be penalized for the practice.
“This is a tradeoff of business interests at the expense of immigrant communities,” Ida V. Eskamani, public policy director at the New Florida Majority, told reporters on a press call. “Our communities are being used as bargaining chips and it will have severe economic consequences.”
Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner Creates New Office to Advise on Immigrant Defendants
If you are living in the United States as an immigrant, even as a permanent resident, a criminal conviction can get you deported. Over the last 20 years the range of crimes that make one deportable has expanded, and even low level offenses can now lead to removal proceedings. In Philadelphia, the DA’s office has looked for ways seek convictions without triggering deportation proceedings for low level crimes. The office has added a staff specialist named Caleb Arnold to handle this work.
The move is in line with other new policies under the progressive DA, who has made it a priority to examine the collateral consequences of criminal charges on defendants. During Krasner’s tenure, the DA’s office has also stopped charging low-level marijuana possession cases and no longer pursues prostitution charges against sex workers with fewer than two convictions.
After a press conference announcing their [Arnold’s] hiring, Arnold has been toiling behind the scenes, creating policy, working with line prosecutors, and signing off on every case involving non-citizen defendants.
In their first year on the job, Arnold said they consulted on around 300 cases and recommended changing plea deals in 120 of them. The remaining cases are either still open, had no immigration consequence, or were too serious to change. Arnold does not consider high-level offenses, such as homicides and sex crimes.
Arnold’s work involves using a sliding scale of discretion, weighing an immigrant’s time in the United States, dependent family members, and criminal records in deciding whether to intervene.
Read the full story here.
Some more state and local stories
ICE has trained 1,500 local police officers to participate in 287(g) agreements around the country – a program under which local police enforce federal immigration law directly.
As several counties in North Carolina have begun resisting cooperation with ICE, ICE responded by ramping up raids in those counties. The tensions have escalated in North Carolina as a result. In that context, an op-ed appeared yesterday in the Asheville Citizen Times, highlighting the long-term benefits of immigration for North Carolina.
Oregon joins a dozen other states and D.C. in issuing drivers licenses regardless of immigration status.
Last week, a Dayton school board passed a resolution declaring itself a “Safe and Welcoming School District” that “shall do everything in its lawful power to … ensure that our students’ learning environments are not disrupted by immigration enforcement actions.” This was too much for two Ohio Republicans, who quickly introduced legislation banning “sanctuary” school districts and forbidding an locality from impeding an employee’s cooperation with Federal immigration enforcement actions.