- Associated Press - Tuesday, April 23, 2019

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — The Florida House opened debate on a hotly contested Republican bill that would require local law enforcement agencies to cooperate with federal immigration authorities and ban so-called “sanctuary city” policies aimed at shielding immigrants who are arrested.

The GOP-dominated House on Tuesday turned back several Democratic amendments intended to weaken the measure, with a final vote expected Wednesday. A similar bill is pending in the state Senate.

Florida does not currently have any formal “sanctuary cities” like those in other states. The bill sponsored by GOP Rep. Cord Byrd of Jacksonville Beach would require local authorities to honor federal immigration detainer requests that can lead to a person’s deportation.

The bill prompted the American Civil Liberties Union to warn immigrants against traveling to Florida and triggered protests around the state.

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