The Miami Herald reports Miami-Dade has been a de-facto sanctuary county since 2013, when it refused to detain undocumented immigrants wanted by Immigration and Customs Enforcement because "the federal government doesn’t fully reimburse the county for the expense." California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, whose state has many sanctuary cities and counties, tells NPR the reasoning behind the practice is that local jurisdictions refuse to "violate the U.S. Constitution by holding people that they no longer have a basis to detain simply because the federal immigration authorities say please hold on to those folks." Miami-Dade, known for having a large, diverse immigrant population, has apparently never liked the "sanctuary" label and tried to ditch it last year, according to the Herald.
Giménez, a Republican, tells the Herald he doesn't want to jeopardize the $355 million in funds it gets from the federal government for the price of holding undocumented immigrants, which would have cost the county $52,000 last year. The Washington Post says Trump's executive order on sanctuary cities may be unconstitutional because it could "seriously undermine constitutional federalism by forcing dissenting cities and states to obey presidential dictates, even without authorization from Congress." During his presidential campaign, Trump called Mexican immigrants "rapists" and blamed undocumented immigrants for increases in crime, despite a study showing immigrants commit fewer crimes than people born in the U.S.
Miami-Dade Mayor drops sanctuary policy. Right decision. Strong! https://t.co/MtPvaDC4jM— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 26, 2017
Needless to say, some people in Miami-Dade were pretty upset with Giménez and protested outside his office on Friday. Monica Russo, president of SEIU Florida, says Trump is "holding our communities hostage," and people must resist.
"Mayor Giménez– shame on you," Russo says. "Criminalizing mothers and fathers and tías and tíos and teenagers and children. This is totally un-American. More than half of the population of Miami-Dade was born outside of the United States, including you...Miami is an immigrant city. Period.”
The Miami New Times reports Miami-Dade County Commissioner Daniella Levine Cava, a Democrat, says the city "must avoid racial and ethnic profiling."
"We have to do our best to protect our community and our residents from any harm. We are an inclusive county," she tells the New Times. "We're going to have to find a way to not jeopardize those who come to this country for freedom."