The Phoenix Flyer

Orlando City Council approves Trust Act

By: - July 20, 2018 8:57 am
Florida Phoenix

(UPDATE) The Orlando City Council on Monday became the first municipality in the South to pass what is called the “Trust Act,” which would ban city employees from asking suspects about their immigration status.

Similar measures have been passed in California, Connecticut and U.S. cities like Boston, Philadelphia, Seattle and Chicago. In some of those jurisdictions, policies ban government employees from sharing information with ICE about the immigration status of anyone, with some exceptions.

Such governments have been described as “sanctuary cities.” Though none currently exist in Florida, Republicans in the Florida Legislature have attempted in recent years to pass legislation that would officially ban them if they did exist.

A year ago, the Trump administration announced a new policy requiring cities to alert federal agents when undocumented immigrants are released from police detention. If cities fail to comply, the federal government has said it will withhold public safety grants.

The Associated Press reported on Wednesday that six states and New York City are now suing the federal government, joining other cities and states which claim that the Trump administration is trying to unlawfully force communities to engage in federal immigration enforcement if they want to get federal anti-crime funds.

In Florida, more than 20 sheriff’s departments have signed an agreement with ICE that allows the sheriffs to hold undocumented immigrants for up to 48 hours. Five sheriff’s departments are also partnering with ICE in a program that gives trained and authorized sheriff’s office staff “the authority to perform certain immigration enforcement functions.”

Nancy Batista is the state director with Mi Familia Vota, a Latino activist group. She says that during the campaign to get Orlando to enact the Trust Act, the undocumented community has been a target of crimes, but has been too intimidated to go to the police.

“This act will help empower the community impacted by letting them know that they are protected, that they deserve being treated equally regardless of their status and that those that target the community will face criminal charges,” says Batista.


Our stories may be republished online or in print under Creative Commons license CC BY-NC-ND 4.0. We ask that you edit only for style or to shorten, provide proper attribution and link to our web site. Please see our republishing guidelines for use of photos and graphics.

Julie Hauserman
Julie Hauserman

Julie Hauserman has been writing about Florida for more than 30 years. She is a former Capitol bureau reporter for the St. Petersburg (Tampa Bay) Times, and reported for The Stuart News and the Tallahassee Democrat. She was a national commentator for National Public Radio’s Weekend Edition Sunday and The Splendid Table . She has won many awards, including two nominations for the Pulitzer Prize. Her work is featured in several Florida anthologies, including The Wild Heart of Florida , The Book of the Everglades , and Between Two Rivers . Her new book is Drawn to The Deep, a University Press of Florida biography of Florida cave diver and National Geographic explorer Wes Skiles.