(The Center Square) – Seventeen Republican attorneys general have filed an amicus brief in the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals to support a Florida law banning shelter towns.
The brief was filed by Attorneys General for Alabama and Georgia Steve Marshall and Christopher Carr. They were joined by the Attorneys General of Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas, Utah and West Virginia.
The Florida case is currently being appealed to the US District Court for the Southern District of Florida, Miami Division.
In 2019, the Florida Legislature passed legislation, signed by Governor Ron DeSantis, requiring state and local government officials and employees to comply with federal immigration regulations.
DeSantis said he was proud to be signing the law “to uphold the rule of law and ensure our communities are safe.” He thanked state legislators “and Angel Parents for their dedication to getting this bill across the finish line. Your leadership has made Florida safer.”
Shortly thereafter, the city sued South Miami and later several other groups, claiming that the law discriminated against foreigners residing illegally in Florida. US District Court Judge Beth Bloom granted the city’s request for an injunction, halting the enactment of the law. Florida then appealed.
Attorneys general argue that Bloom legislated from the bench, exceeding her constitutional authority.
“Amici states must constantly defend themselves against legal challenges to state laws brought by those who oppose the outcome of the legislative process,” they argue in the brief. “These litigants are asking the federal courts to replace the legislature’s judgment with their own judgment. Too often, courts accept the invitation to usurp the legislative role, attributing to legislatures evil intent, based on pure political disagreement and disguised as perceived discrimination.
“The constitution forbids that for good reason. … Federal courts are ill-positioned to weigh the many interests at stake. Their decisions are made without public debate. And because they are not elected, they cannot be held accountable by the people.”
They argue that Bloom “fell prey to that very temptation.”
“A legislative ruling that the country’s existing laws should be enforced is not an extreme or suspect position,” they argue. “But the district court found the law to be manifestly invalid because it was allegedly enacted with discriminatory intent, even though the law expressly prohibits racial discrimination. The court made no reference to any discrimination evident in the text of the law (there is none).”
AG Marshall said, “An unelected federal judge obviously contradicts Florida’s political assessment of whether immigration laws should be enforced, but that shouldn’t be relevant,” adding that he hopes the court will reverse Bloom’s “troubling ruling and comply with this practice.” Legislation ends by court order.”
In Florida AG Ashley Moody’s brief filed in the 11th Circuit Court, she argued that Judge Bloom “made numerous errors in arriving at the striking conclusion that the Florida legislature had secret racial motives for passing SB 168.” “.
“The law promotes public safety by facilitating enforcement of federal immigration regulations against criminal aliens, while expressly prohibiting racial discrimination in its implementation,” the brief said. “The district court found a covert racist motive only by ignoring important provisions of the statute, failing to grant the legislature a presumption of good faith, and giving heavy weight to the thinnest evidence.”
The Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) estimates that there are currently more than 300 so-called sanctuary cities in the USA whose officials do not cooperate with the federal immigration authorities.
“Many sanctuary policies prevent law enforcement from working with federal immigration officials, including prohibiting their compliance with immigration detainees,” it said.
US Immigration and Customs Enforcement estimates that there are more than 2.1 million illegal immigrants living in the United States, of whom more than 1.9 million have deportation warrants from a judge.
In a recent letter to Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas, Florida Congressman Matt Gaetz estimated it would take 14.5 years to get “just the aliens that DHS released under the Biden administration” into that interior of the United States, including Florida. Then there are the 1.9 million with deportation orders who were not deported.
He also recently cited DHS data suggesting the Biden administration has the lowest deportation rate in the agency’s history. According to DHS data, 48 percent fewer criminal illegal immigrants were arrested and 63 percent fewer convicted criminals were deported under the administration, he said.
By Bethany Blankley | The Center Square contributor