Photo via Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Giménez
If we all somehow survive the collective heart attack that has been the past seven days, then surely we'll all go from an overdose of irony. The source of this overdose: Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Giménez, a Cuban immigrant, who is now ordering county jails to comply with federal immigration detention requests after President Donald Trump threatened
to pull federal funding from so-called "sanctuary" cities and counties that don't detain undocumented immigrants for federal officials.
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.
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."