For the first time since it began extending the detentions of local inmates sought for deportation, Miami-Dade County received word from Washington that it won’t be treated as a community giving “sanctuary” to immigration violators.
An Aug. 4 letter to Mayor Carlos Gimenez from the Justice Department said “there was no evidence” Miami-Dade was out of compliance with an immigration provision of a federal police grant worth about $480,000 this year to the county.
Shortly after President Donald Trump took office promising an immigration crackdown, Gimenez reversed a 2013 county policy and ordered Miami-Dade jails to begin honoring requests by immigration officers to extend the detentions of people in local custody who are also being sought for possible deportation.
Miami-Dade is the only large jurisdiction known to have made that kind of change, which the County Commission endorsed in February. As a result, it has been assumed Miami-Dade would be shielded from any loss of federal funds the Trump administration engineered as part of a broader effort to punish communities not cooperating on immigration detentions.
Gimenez’s change of policy sparked outrage from local immigration advocates, who accused the Cuban-born mayor of betraying Miami-Dade’s heritage of welcoming immigrants and advocating for the embrace of new arrivals to the country.
Despite the threats, the Trump administration has not yet announced an actual loss of federal dollars tied to local immigration policies. On Monday, Chicago announced it was suing the Trump administration over an expected loss of federal funds over the city’s policies on immigration enforcement, which includes not honoring federal detention requests.
SOURCE: DOUGLAS HANKS