While most mayors of cities with “sanctuary” policies have remained defiant of President Donald Trump’s executive order aimed at punishing local governments that don’t comply with federal immigration laws, the mayor of Miami-Dade County, Florida, is the exception.
On Thursday, Mayor Carlos Gimenez ordered county jails to comply with Trump’s federal immigration detention requests, effectively reversing the county’s unofficial status as a “sanctuary city” for illegal immigrants.
Gimenez cited an executive order signed Wednesday by President Donald Trump that threatened to cut federal grants for any counties or cities that don’t cooperate fully with Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Since 2013, Miami-Dade has refused to indefinitely detain inmates who are in the country illegally and wanted by ICE — not based on principle, but because the federal government doesn’t fully reimburse the county for the expense.
“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 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,” Mayor Carlos Gimenez wrote in a memo to the interim head of the corrections and rehabilitation department, as reported by the Miami Herald.
Gimenez, a Republican, added:
Miami-Dade County complies with federal law and intends to fully cooperate with the federal government. … I will partner with the Board of County Commissioners to address any issues necessary to achieve this end.
Thursday evening, a very pleased President Trump posted his response on Twitter:
Miami-Dade Mayor drops sanctuary policy. Right decision. Strong! https://t.co/MtPvaDC4jM
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 26, 2017
Gimenez also looked to quell fears that Miami-Dade police will start rounding up illegal immigrants as a result of the policy change:
Our officers are not immigration officers. Every once in a while we will arrest an illegal immigrant for a crime — like anybody else.