Miami-Dade mayor tells jails to drop ‘sanctuary’ policy, comply with federal detention requests

Miami-Dade mayor tells jails to drop ‘sanctuary’ policy, comply with federal detention requests
Mayor Carlos Gimenez delivers his State of the County address in Jan 2017. (Image: Screen grab of

It appears that Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez finds credible President Donald Trump’s threat to withhold federal funds from self-anointed “sanctuary cities.”

The key definition of a “sanctuary” location — city or county — is that its law enforcement arms refuse, by policy, to comply with immigration detention requests from the federal government.  In cities that do honor detention requests, illegal migrants will be held for federal pick-up, even when the local government has decided it has nothing to hold the individual on.  But a “sanctuary city” declines to do this.  It turns illegals loose in the streets instead.

This is the case even when a sanctuary city got the illegal from the feds in the first place — and knew all along that he had multiple criminal convictions in his career as an illegal inside the U.S.  Those conditions obtained in the story of Francisco Sanchez, who murdered Kate Steinle in San Francisco in 2015.

On Wednesday, 25 January, Trump signed an executive order to DHS to find ways of withholding federal funds from sanctuary cities.  Spokesman Sean Spicer explained:

Trump’s White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said earlier the order would direct the DHS secretary to look at funding streams and determine “how they can be cut off” for sanctuary districts.

Several cities, according to the Fox news report, were determined to continue rejecting “detainers” from the federal government for illegals.  Their reasoning: the E.O. merely ordered DHS to identify ways to cut funds.  It didn’t order any specific funds actually cut.

But Mayor Carlos Gimenez seems to read the writing on the wall.  (It probably didn’t hurt that Trump signed a separate order this week requiring DHS to publish a weekly list of the crimes committed in sanctuary cities by illegals.)  Gimenez appears to be the first mayor of a major city to order a halt to the main sanctuary-city policy — ignoring federal detainers for illegals.

The Miami Herald points out that Miami-Dade’s status is a bit different.  The city has never declared itself a sanctuary city.  The Obama Justice Department listed it as one in May 2016, but the city hasn’t embraced that designation.

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 an interview with the Miami Herald, Gimenez, a Republican who attended Trump’s inauguration last week but said he voted for Hillary Clinton, said he made a financial decision. Last year, the county declined to hold some 100 inmates wanted by the feds. Keeping them in local jails would have cost about $52,000 — a relative drop in the bucket for a county with a total annual budget of $7 billion.

In contrast, the county’s 2017 budget shows it’s counting on receiving some $355 million in federal funds — money that subsidizes elderly services, beds for the homeless, police officers and other government expenses. It’s unclear how much of that comes from the sort of grants Trump has threatened to deny sanctuary municipalities.

“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,” he said. “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.”

Trump praised Gimenez for his decision.

In Texas, state Republicans have been pushing to cut funding to sanctuary cities for some time, and Governor Greg Abbott promised a few weeks ago to sign a bill that would deny such funds.

But Gimenez looks like the first mayor who is reacting directly to the Trump executive order.  If Trump’s initial pattern of follow-through holds true, Gimenez probably won’t be the last.

J.E. Dyer

J.E. Dyer

J.E. Dyer is a retired Naval Intelligence officer who lives in Southern California, blogging as The Optimistic Conservative for domestic tranquility and world peace. Her articles have appeared at Hot Air, Commentary’s Contentions, Patheos, The Daily Caller, The Jewish Press, and The Weekly Standard.


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