Miami-Dade County's mayor has instructed jail officials to honor all immigration detainer requests a day after President Donald Trump signed an executive order that would strip federal funding from sanctuary cities.
Mayor Carlos Gimenez sent a memo to the county's corrections director Thursday saying jails should hold undocumented immigrants detained by police and turn them over to the Department of Homeland Security when requested.
President Donald Trump praised Gimenez for the move, tweeting "Miami-Dade Mayor drops sanctuary policy. Right decision. Strong!"
Miami-Dade Mayor drops sanctuary policy. Right decision. Strong! https://t.co/MtPvaDC4jM
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 26, 2017
Mayor Gimenez explained why he decided to scrap the policy.
"We're taking away any kind of excuse or any kind of reason as to why the federal government could withhold any federal aid to Miami-Dade County, which is millions and millions of dollars," said Gimenez.
Before Thursday, Miami-Dade only held detainees if federal immigration officials agreed to reimburse the county for the detention costs. The condition set in 2013 put the county in a Department of Justice report that listed sanctuary places that refused to comply with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
The ACLU of FLorida released a statement condemning Gimenez's decision:
“Today’s decision by Mayor Gimenez flies in the face of Miami’s long history as a city of immigrants. It also flies in the face of the advice of professional law enforcement that policies like the one Gimenez embraced today serve only to drive a wedge of distrust between law enforcement and our immigrant community.”
Members of the immigrant community and supporters rallied at Mayor Gimenez's office Friday morning to voice their protest his decision.
The City of Miami Mayor Tomas Regalado also voiced his opposition to the county's decision. He tweeted, "@MiamiPD job is to protect and serve the residents of @CityofMiami. I am disappointed with the decision of the County."
Miami-Dade turned over about 180 people to immigration officials in 2016 but was not reimbursed for any costs.
The move comes as politicians in New York, Seattle and other "sanctuary cities" declared they won't be intimidated by Trump's move to cut federal funding to such communities.
Many cities vowed legal action, arguing that the threatened punishment would be unconstitutional. Boston Mayor Marty Walsh promised to let immigrants who feel threatened by the administration's actions take shelter in City Hall if necessary.
Washington Gov. Jay Inslee called Trump's executive orders on immigration mean-spirited and unnecessary. California Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de Leon, a Los Angeles Democrat, tweeted: "See you in court."