Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez has ordered that the county jail must comply with federal immigration detention requests. While Miami-Dade had not ever officially declared itself a “sanctuary” city as has San Francisco, it had effectively been as much. Gimenez feared the loss of millions of dollars in federal funds for his jurisdiction’s continued defiance of federal immigration detention requests.
“The federal government has to do its job,” he said. “We don’t ask them to write traffic tickets. We don’t want police asking people immigration status.”
President Trump tweeted his approval of the decision. On Twitter he wrote: "Miami-Dade Mayor drops sanctuary policy. Right decision. Strong!"
When an immigrant who is wanted by federal immigration authorities has been arrested by local police, federal authorities ask the local jails to hold the arrestee until pick up, even if that means Sometimes this may mean keeping longer than the period of time of the period required for a non-immigration crime for which they were arrested.
Citing an executive order signed by President Donald Trump yesterday that threatens to cut federal grants for any counties or cities that do not cooperate with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). For the last three years, Miami-Dade has refused to indefinitely keep illegal alien inmates in jail and wanted by ICE. This was done on on the basis of principle, but because the federal government has not fully reimbursed the county for the expense of the inmates’ confinement.
In a memorandum to Daniel Junior, who serves as interim director of the corrections and rehabilitation department, Gimenez wrote, “In light of the provisions of the Executive Order, I direct you and your staff to honor all immigration detainer requests received from the Department of Homeland Security.”
Gimenez is a Republican who attended Trump's inauguration even though he said that he had voted for Hillary Clinton.
According to the Miami Herald, Gimenez said that the county declined to hold last year about 100 inmates wanted by the federal government. “Keeping them in local jails would have cost about $52,000 — a relative drop in the bucket in a for a county with a total annual budget of $7 billion.”
Miami-Dade is receiving $355 million in federal funds this year, which funds police officers and government expenses, as well as elderly services and beds for the homeless. This could be affected if Trump cuts funds to sanctuary cities. Gimenez told the Miami Herald that he did not want to jeopardize the millions of dollars in federal aid in order to recoup $52,000.
However, he said that this does not mean”that we’re going to be arresting more people. It doesn’t mean that we’re going to be enforcing any immigration laws.”
County Commissioner Sally Heyman (D) learned in December that federal immigration authorities are now able to pick up inmates from local jails within 48 hours, which means that the country will not have to bear the cost of housing them.