Another Win For Anti-Sanctuary Movement
By David Jaroslav | August 16, 2018
At their August 14 meeting, the Brevard County, Florida, Board of County Commissioners unanimously passed a resolution seeking to ensure the county never becomes a sanctuary county. The open-borders crowd turned out to oppose the resolution, but the commission wisely rejected what they had to say.
The resolution (Agenda Item J.4) directs the county manager to “to ensure that neither [he] nor his staff develop, endorse, or enforce policies which knowingly prohibit or impede communication or cooperation with a federal immigration agency with respect to federal immigration enforcement.” It also specifically prohibits any policy that would “limit or prevent”: 1) complying with immigration detainers; 2) initiating immigration status investigations; or 3) assisting or cooperating with immigration officers.
The resolution’s sponsor, Commissioner John Tobia (R-Melbourne/Palm Bay), appears to have been prompted to draft it in large part as a response to Orlando passing a sanctuary resolution on July 23. Orange County, of which Orlando is the largest city and county seat, adjoins Brevard County, and Brevard County’s beaches are some of the closest to Orlando. Tobia says, “I want to make sure that the laws we have on the books continue and we follow federal law and make sure illegal immigration is not welcome here in Brevard County.”
The resolution recognizes that Brevard County isn’t a sanctuary county and simply aims to keep it that way. Indeed, Brevard County Sheriff Wayne Ivey (R) was one of 17 Florida sheriffs who signed an agreement with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in January specifically to honor immigration detainers.
The sheriff spoke at the meeting and strongly supported the resolution, saying that his office “will continue to partner with our federal partners to make sure that we are keeping Florida safe, and, certainly, to make sure we’re keeping Brevard County safe.” He also noted that 31 inmates in the county jail have been held on detainers just in the seven months since he signed the agreement with ICE. That’s 31 alleged criminal aliens who the opponents of the resolution evidently would prefer were back out in the community able to reoffend.
Those opponents included representatives from a host of open-borders organizations, including the ACLU and Southern Poverty Law Center, as well as candidates for political office. Their pre-scripted message consisted of the same tired and unfounded talking points as ever, i.e., that enforcing immigration law is racist, mean, unconstitutional and just generally bad. Sanjay Patel (D), who is running against Congressman Bill Posey (R) in Florida’s 8th Congressional District, condemned the resolution as “an attempt to villainize and dehumanize the immigrant population,” while Sam Lopez, president of United Third Bridge and chairman of the Florida Puerto Rican/Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, even said of Commissioner Tobia, “[w]e’re dealing with an individual who is a racist.”
Commissioner Curt Smith (R-Rockledge/Satellite Beach) rejected such accusations, saying “I don’t have a prejudiced molecule in my body, but we have to follow the law … It’s not about hating anybody or disrespecting anybody.” Commission Vice-Chair Kristine Isnardi (R-Palm Bay/West Melbourne) added, “[t]his isn’t an anti-immigrant resolution, and that’s not a fair assessment of the resolution. To be pro-legal immigration is not racist.”
The measure’s opponents began shouting “shame!” so loudly that Commission Chair Rita Pritchett (R-Titusville/Cocoa) had to call a five-minute recess, later extended to ten. But when the Commissioners reconvened, the final vote in favor of the resolution was a resounding 5-0.
The Brevard County Commissioners should be commended for passing this resolution, especially in the face of such vocal and concerted opposition.