Group Works to Sway 'Sanctuary Cities' Bill

A hard-line group that wants to “defeat immigration anarchy” in Florida influenced the drafting of a Senate proposal that would ban so-called sanctuary cities, one of the legislative session’s most politically charged fights.

A bill sponsored by Sen. Joe Gruters, R-Sarasota, would give the attorney general authority to take action against local governments, an approach suggested in January by a lawyer for the group Floridians for Immigration Enforcement, according to emails obtained by The News Service of Florida.

In addition to the bill reflecting the suggestion about the attorney general, a Senate staff analysis also includes a controversial list provided by Floridians for Immigration Enforcement that labels 15 municipalities as “sanctuary cities” — or what the group calls “anarchy cities.”

Gruters’ office worked with David Caulkett, the organization’s vice president who also serves as a Florida adviser for another hard-line group, the Federation for American Immigration Reform, or FAIR.

Caulkett told the News Service of Florida that his group, which he says is an “anti-illegal immigration” activist group, worked closely with Gruters in the drafting of the bill (SB 168), but he refused to provide details on specific language discussed between the group and the senator.

“Of course we helped,”

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