Miami changes illegal immigrant detention policy; New York, Chicago defiant

Following President Trump’s executive order to end Department of Homeland Security funding for “sanctuary cities”, Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Giménez announced Thursday that his jurisdiction will start complying with federal requests to detain illegal immigrants.

Specifically, Mayor Giménez directed the Miami-Dade County corrections department to hold illegal immigrants wanted by DHS at their facilities.  Since 2013, Miami has maintained a policy of refusing ICE detention orders, citing costs which are not reimbursed by the federal government.

In 2016, Miami County jails refused to hold approximately 100 illegals wanted by ICE at an estimated total cost of $52,000. Miami-Dade is expected to receive $355 million in federal funds for 2017 and has a total annual budget of $7 billion.

“I want to make sure we don’t put in jeopardy the millions of funds we get from the federal government for a $52,000 issue,” Giménez said. “It doesn’t mean that we’re going to be arresting more people. It doesn’t mean that we’re going to be enforcing any immigration laws.”

In an interview with Politico, Giménez emphasized that Miami’s cooperation with ICE doesn’t mean they will pay for the holding costs of detainees without reimbursement.

“If ICE asks us to detain someone we arrested . . . we feel ICE should pay the bill and bear the responsibility for housing their inmate,” he said. “There is no change in broader policy. The change here is we just won’t require a letter from ICE for each inmate.”

However, County Commissioner Sally Heyman, a Democrat who advocated for non-cooperation with immigration law enforcement in 2013, said she was told by federal authorities that ICE now has the capacity to hold wanted illegals so local jails won’t have to retain individuals for more than two days.

Miami seemed to be the only major jurisdiction that reneged on its sanctuary city-like policy following Trump’s order on Wednesday, as the mayors of New York and Chicago, as well as officials in smaller California jurisdictions, vowed to keep their cities as safe havens for immigrants.

“We’re going to defend all of our people, regardless of where they come from, regardless of their immigration status,” said New York Mayor Bill de Blasio.

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti stopped short of open defiance, but argued that while his city is considered a sanctuary for illegals, local law enforcement works with ICE in criminal cases and always complies “with constitutional detainer requests.”

ACLU’s Florida director, Howard Simon, vowed that his organization will fight Miami’s new policy, saying more immigrant detentions would “drive a wedge of distrust between law enforcement and our immigrant community.”

“At the very least, a warrant from a court, not merely a request from a federal official, is required to detain somebody in jail,” he continued. “We will resist every attempt by our government to punish immigrants, regardless of their status.”


[Miami Herald] [Politico] [Los Angeles Times] [LA Weekly]