Brevard County passes anti-sanctuary resolution


Published:

The Brevard County Commission passed a resolution at a meeting Aug. 14 in Viera that prohibits the adoption of sanctuary policies in the county.

“I strongly, strongly believe in legal immigration,” said District 3 County Commissioner John Tobia, who introduced the resolution. “I just have an issue with illegal immigration.”

Per the Brevard County government website, the resolution “directs the County Manager to ensure that neither the County Manager 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, including, but not limited to, limiting or preventing a state entity, local governmental entity or law enforcement agency from lawfully:

• Complying with an immigration detainer;

• Initiating an immigration status investigation; or

• Assisting or cooperating with a federal immigration officer as reasonable or necessary

It was passed by the five-member Commission which is comprised of all Republicans, and is effective immediately.

Though the Commission did ultimately adopt the resolution, they didn’t do so without hearing from some of their constituents who were opposed to the adoption of the resolution. About 50 people, including members from the Space Coast Progressive Alliance and the American Civil Liberties Union, made their voices heard before and during the meeting.

Most of the speakers in a roughly 70-minute long public speaking session came out against the resolution.

“More than ever, we need leaders who will bring our community together and not those who will further divide us. Instead, County Commissioner John Tobia has decided to blow his dog whistle in an attempt to villainize and de-humanize the immigrant population in this country and in this county,’’ said Sanjay Patel, a Democratic candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives from Florida’s 8th district in prepared remarks prior to the meeting.

Some in attendance favored the adoption of the resolution of the bill, including Brevard County Sheriff Wayne Ivey.

“Commissioner Tobia asked me to come and talk about what we’re currently doing,’’ Ivey said. “And, I think in being able to show what we’re currently doing, it kind of put the resolution in perspective. Because really the resolution is just saying ‘we’re going to continue to do the policy and practice that we’re doing now no matter who’s in charge of the Sheriff’s Office, no matter who’s in charge of the County Manager and those type of things.’ ”

After the unanimous vote, many resolution opponents chanted, “no hate, no fear, immigrants are welcome here.”

“The Brevard County Commission voted unanimously to support a measure that they did not have to pass,” said Philip Stasik, the president of the Space Coast Progressive Alliance. “This is a political maneuver to simply make a statement against immigrants and the Space Coast Progressive Alliance is so disappointed in all five of our commissioners. …. I would never have expected at least a couple of our commissioners to vote for this. It’s just unconscionable and I don’t understand it.” VV