Only a day after President Donald Trump signed executive order threatening to withdraw federal funding from sanctuary cities, a county has caved in to the pressure.
Florida’s Miami-Dade County became the first jurisdiction to fall victim to Trump’s draconian immigration policies.
Since 2013, the county has refused to detain some undocumented immigrants in its jails for federal immigration agents. Although Mayor Carlos Gimenez always refused the “sanctuary” label, insisting the policy was in place due to detention costs, not ethics, the Justice Department listed the county as such.
But now, fearing loss of federal funding, Gimenez has ordered his officials to comply with all "detainer requests" by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to hold immigration suspects in county jails.
“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,” Gimenez, a Republican, told the Miami Herald. “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.”
Gimenez referred to last year’s estimated detention cost — $52,000 — of keeping around 100 inmates wanted by feds. It was indeed a small price to pay when you compare it to the county’s annual budget of $7 billion.
Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Giménez: "I'm not going to put millions of dollars in federal aid in jeopardy" https://t.co/yf4qIoVJpD— CNN Politics (@CNNPolitics) January 27, 2017
The president even took to Twitter to gloat about Gimenez’s decision on Twitter:
Miami-Dade Mayor drops sanctuary policy. Right decision. Strong! https://t.co/MtPvaDC4jM— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 26, 2017
Trump’s crackdown on “sanctuary cities” may have claimed its first victim but analysts say it’s not going to be as easy as the president’s making it out to be.
“The Trump administration cannot cut funds for sanctuary cities' healthcare and education while preserving money for police, since those jobs relate more closely to immigration enforcement,” Richard Doyle, city attorney in San Jose, California, told Reuters.
In addition, mayors of big “sanctuary” communities, such as San Francisco, Chicago and New York, are ready to fight back. In fact, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh has said he would allow undocumented immigrants to seek refuge in City Hall if the situation gets worse.
"They can use my office," Walsh said. "They can use any office in this building."
Banner and thumbnail credit: Reuters, Kevin Lamarque