Legislation banning sanctuary cities moving forward in Florida

Florida’s historic capitol building and current state capitol building, in Tallahassee on August 31, 2013.

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (CAPITOL NEWS SERVICE) - Kiyan and Bobby Michael have been fighting for immigration reform since their son Brandon was hit and killed in 2007 by a driver here illegally.

“This should never have happened. If the laws on that we had on the books at the time had been enforced, all of this could have been avoidable," Kiyan Michael, Brandon's mother, said.

The Michaels were invited by Governor Ron DeSantis to his first State of the State address.

“Now their son Brandon was killed by a foreign national who was illegally in our country, had been deported two prior times," DeSantis said in March.

Sponsors of the legislation, which is on a fast track to becoming law, say it will stop about 4,600 in state and county jails from being immediately released.

“This bill only deals with criminals who are going through the process or are in the judicial system right now. This is about keeping all Floridians safe," Senator Joe Grueters said.

Since the governor was sworn in and talked about ending sanctuary cities in his inaugural address, the number of counties complying with federal law has gone from 29 to 34.

The 17-member Senate Democratic Caucus unanimously opposes the legislation, fearful it will make undocumented crime victims afraid to come forward.

“We shouldn’t put individuals in a position to make those type of decisions," Senator Perry Thurston said.

But the Michaels say they know what permanent separation from their child is like.

“What we have experienced is horrific. It’s a loss no one should have to go through," Kiyan Michael said.

Brandon was preparing to be married when he was hit and killed.