Republican lawmakers endorse DeSantis’ swipe at immigration

TALLAHASSEE – The latest strike by Gov. Ron DeSantis and the Republican-led Legislature against undocumented immigrants is taking shape, even though it builds on an earlier approach already blocked by a federal court as unconstitutional. 

The legislation (SB 1808) would expand the state’s ban on “sanctuary cities” by discouraging airlines, bus companies and organizations from assisting the federal government in relocating undocumented immigrants to Florida, many of them unaccompanied minors.

Under the bill, companies could be prohibited from doing any business with Florida governments, if they help the Biden administration transport “unauthorized aliens” into the state.

While many of those being relocated are reunited with family members or gain assistance from social service agencies, Sen. Aaron Bean, R-Fernandina Beach, cast a more ominous view Monday when describing dozens of flights reported having come into Jacksonville in recent months carrying migrants from the Mexican border region.

In 2021:Fresh from border trip, DeSantis says undocumented immigrants are heading to Florida

Previously:Florida’s election-year legislative session set to start

Sen. Aaron Bean speaks during the first day of the Florida Legislature's Special Session B at the Capitol building Monday, Nov. 15, 2021.

Bean said many arrive “in the dead of the night.”

“We don’t know who these people are, and the crimes which they are committing (are) very real,” Bean told the Senate Judiciary Committee, without offering much detail on the alleged crimes.

“We think it’s time to say ‘no’ to the federal government running this human smuggling operation,” he added. “Once we say ‘no,’ there should be a better way. We need enforcement at the border.”

As part of that, Bean said his bill would, for example, strip a bus company of its contract transporting a Florida college or high school sports team, if it also did work relocating undocumented immigrants to the state.

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