One day after President Donald Trump’s executive order threatening to cut federal dollars from cities and counties that don’t fully comply with federal immigration enforcement officials, the first so-called “sanctuary” has reversed course: Miami-Dade County.
Fearing a loss of millions of dollars from the federal government, Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez ordered county jails to begin complying with federal immigration detention demands. The move effectively unravels Miami-Dade’s status as a “sanctuary” for the undocumented.
“In light of the provisions of the Executive Order, I direct you and your staff to honor all immigration detainer requests received from the Department of Homeland Security,” the Republican mayor wrote in a brief memo on Thursday to the interim director of Miami-Dade’s corrections and rehabilitation department, according to The Miami Herald.
Speaking to The Miami Herald, Mayor Gimenez put the shift in stark financial terms. Last year, Miami-Dade declined to continue detaining approximately 100 undocumented inmates wanted by federal immigration. Keeping them would have cost $52,000, The Miami Herald reported. In contrast, Miami-Dade is set to receive $355 million in federal funds in 2017, the newspaper noted.
“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,” Mayor Gimenez 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.”
President Trump took to Twitter to celebrate the mayor’s decision.
There are 140 “sanctuary” jurisdictions — states, cities and counties — across the country, according to a May, 2016 Justice Department report. That list includes cities like Chicago, New York, Philadelphia, counties like Cook County, Illinois and Clark County, Nevada, and states like Connecticut and California.
Mr. Trump’s executive order on Wednesday took direct aim at those jurisdictions.
“Sanctuary jurisdictions across the United States willfully violate Federal law in an attempt to shield aliens from removal from the United States,” the president’s executive order stated. “These jurisdictions have caused immeasurable harm to the American people and to the very fabric of our Republic.”
Immediately after Mr. Trump’s executive order, several mayors of so-called sanctuary cities vocally doubled down on their commitment to undocumented residents.
In Boston, Mayor Marty Walsh said he would use “City Hall as a last resort” to provide protection to his city’s immigrants.
In Chicago, Mayor Rahm Emanuel emphasized the city is “going to stay a sanctuary city,” according to the Chicago Tribune on Wednesday.
Trump’s executive order highlights the chasm between his administration and city mayors across the country: two-thirds of America’s 100 largest cities are currently governed by Democrats, making cities one of the only strongholds of progressivism in the current climate.