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‘Right decision!’ President Trump praises first city to ‘drop’ sanctuary city policy

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Is this just the beginning?

The mayor of Miami-Dade has ordered county jails to comply with federal immigration detention requests following President Donald Trump’s executive order to cut grants to sanctuary cities.

“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,” Mayor Carlos Gimenez wrote to the county’s corrections department on Thursday, the Miami Herald reported.

The president was quick to notice, praising the mayor in a post on Twitter Thursday.

Unlike San Francisco, New York, Seattle and other cities,  Miami-Dade County has never declared itself a “sanctuary” for immigrants in the country illegally.

Although the South Florida county has refused, since 2013, to detain inmates who are wanted by the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, the decision has been due to the lack of full reimbursement from the federal government for holding the inmates in county facilities.

Miami-Dade’s 2017 budget reflects about $355 million in federal funds which the Republican mayor does not want to jeopardize. Much of that funding covers costs for elder care, homeless programs and paying police officers, the Herald reported. In 2016, the county declined to incur about $52,000 in costs by detaining around 100 inmates wanted by ICE.

“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 told the 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’s action “flies in the face of Miami’s long history as a city of immigrants,” Howard Simon, executive director of the Florida chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union said, denouncing the mayor’s decision. Simon warned that it would “drive a wedge of distrust between law enforcement and our immigrant community.”

Though the county, like other Florida municipalities, has no policy in place that specifically obstructs federal immigration authorities, it was not immediately clear how Trump’s executive action would affect Miami-Dade.

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Frieda Powers

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