Florida House passes sanctuary city ban

Last Updated: Friday, January 12, 2018, 2:17 PM EST

For the third year in a row, the Florida House passed a contentious bill cracking down on municipalities that don't comply with federal immigration authorities.

  • Florida House passed sanctuary city ban Friday, 71-35
  • Democrats tried to tie the bill to President Trump's comments
  • Bill faces a rocky reception in the Senate

The House voted Friday 71-35 for the bill following a debate where Democrats lashed out at President Donald Trump and comments he made this week. During a private meeting Trump used vulgar language about why the U.S. should be accepting more immigrants from Haiti and African nations than from countries like Norway.

Republicans said that they didn't agree with Trump's comments, but were voting for the bill to make sure local governments follow federal immigration laws. A handful of Florida counties have been criticized for being non-cooperative.

The measure (HB 9) would strictly ban "sanctuary city" policies and penalize local officials for upholding them. The bill's sponsor, State Rep. Larry Metz, R-Groveland, conceded on Thursday that the state would likely be sued if the measure were to become law. 

State Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith, D-Orlando, pointed out that a dozen courts have declared similar laws unconstitutional. 

The bill faces a rocky reception in the Florida Senate, where it has been shot down in the past. Republicans in the House hope the absence of recently-resigned Sen. Jack Latvala, R-Clearwater, a critic of many conservative priorities, will give Senate supporters more momentum.