Fearing a loss of millions of dollars for defying immigration authorities, Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez on Thursday ordered county jails to comply with federal immigration detention requests — effectively gutting the county’s position as a “sanctuary” for immigrants in the country illegally, the Miami Herald reported.
White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer talks about the administrations stance on sanctuary cities during Wednesdays briefing.
White House: Funding to sanctuary cities a ‘taxpayer issue’
“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 wrote Daniel Junior, the interim director of the corrections and rehabilitation department, in a brief, three-paragraph memo.
Unlike cities like San Francisco, Miami-Dade never declared itself a “sanctuary” and has resisted the label ever since the Justice Department listed the county as one in a May 2016 report. Foreseeing Trump’s crackdown on “sanctuary” jurisdictions, the county asked the feds to review its status last year. A decision is still pending.
In an interview with the Miami Herald, Gimenez, a Republican who attended Trump’s inauguration last week but said he voted for Hillary Clinton, said he made a financial decision. Last year, the county declined to hold some 100 inmates wanted by the feds. Keeping them in local jails would have cost about $52,000 — a relative drop in the bucket for a county with a total annual budget of $7 billion.
In contrast, the county’s 2017 budget shows it’s counting on receiving some $355 million in federal funds — money that subsidizes elderly services, beds for the homeless, police officers and other government expenses. It’s unclear how much of that comes from the sort of grants Trump has threatened to deny sanctuary municipalities.
“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,” he 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.”
Thursday evening, when this Miami Herald story moved online, Trump posted a response on Twitter:
“Miami-Dade Mayor drops sanctuary policy. Right decision. Strong!”
The Democratic mayors of several big cities that defy federal immigration authorities as a matter of policy declared one after another Wednesday that they protect undocumented immigrants within their jurisdictions.
“I want to be clear: We’re going to stay a sanctuary city,” Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel said.
“We’re going to defend all of our people, regardless of where they come from, regardless of their immigration status,” New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said.