sanctuary cities

In a production filled with political theater, a Democratic candidate for governor and a legislative leader who’s toying with a run for the same office took the stage Tuesday night in a debate over immigration and “sanctuary cities.”

Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum and House Speaker Richard Corcoran, a Republican who hasn’t announced whether he’s in the gubernatorial race, came out slugging during the 45-minute debate, aired live on both men’s Facebook pages.

Andy Lalino / WUSF Public Media

This week on Florida Matters we visit the office of St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman to talk about his second term in office, which began about a month ago.

The Florida Senate stalled a plan to ban sanctuary cities this week. But the debate around immigration enforcement is alive and well in the statehouse.

Manuel Balce Ceneta, AP

Several prominent mayors from around the country boycotted a meeting with President Donald Trump Wednesday because of a Justice Department crackdown on what's commonly referred to as "sanctuary cities." But many went.

One of those was Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn. He said the benefits outweighed any controversy.

The Florida House has overwhelmingly approved a ban against sanctuary policies. President Trump’s disparaging comments about Haiti, El Salvador and African countries fueled an already contentious debate on the bill. Trump reportedly referred to the areas as "s***hole countries."

Roberto Roldan/WUSF

The mayors of Tampa, St. Petersburg and Clearwater laid out their priorities for 2018 at the State of the Bay discussion on Friday.

If one Florida lawmaker gets his way, legislators will once again be debating sanctuary cities. Republican Representative Larry Metz of Groveland is filing legislation he hopes will ensure local law enforcement are cooperating with federal immigration authorities.

Legislation banning sanctuary city policies is moving through Florida House committees. The proposal requires cities fully cooperate with federal immigration officers or face penalties.

On Wednesday, President Trump signed an executive order promising to withhold federal money from what it calls sanctuary jurisdictions. What's not clear is which cities and counties qualify for this punishment, and whether this kind of federal pressure is even legal.

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A few dozen activists delivered a letter to Tampa City Hall asking Mayor Bob Buckhorn to designate Tampa a "sanctuary city," a jurisdiction where local law enforcement doesn't cooperate with federal immigration authorities.

Communities that provide sanctuary to undocumented immigrants are coming under fire in the Florida legislature.