One of the biggest ‘sanctuary’ counties in the US just folded; watch the drama after the vote

One of the most populated counties in the nation has ended its sanctuary policy fearing President Donald Trump’s threat to withhold federal funding.

Miami-Dade County commissioners on Friday backed a decision by Mayor Carlos Gimenez to cooperate with federal authorities by detaining jailed inmates sought for deportation, the Miami Herald reported.

The 9-3 vote by the commissioners followed hours of testimony from residents of the mostly immigrant county. More than 150 people delivered emotional testimony entreating the board to stand up to the mayor and the White House.

The Republican mayor clarified that the decision was merely a return to an existing policy before Miami-Dade stopped honoring detention requests because the extra jail time for inmates was not being paid for by the federal government, the Herald reported.

“Miami-Dade is not — has never considered itself — a sanctuary community,” Gimenez said.

The South Florida county had refused since 2013 to detain inmates wanted by the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency because of the cost of jail time. But Gimenez did not want to jeopardize Miami-Dade’s 2017 budget with about $355 million in federal funds, and ordered county jails to comply with federal immigration detention requests after Trump’s executive order on Jan. 25 banning “sanctuary” communities.

After weeks of protests, emotions ran high at County Hall as residents told personal stories and implored the commissioners to defy the order by Gimenez, a Cuban-born immigrant.

“Shame on you!” members of the crowd shouted after the vote.

“We’re all immigrants. We’re all in this together. Never forget your roots. Never forget where you came from. Because this is what holds us together as one nation,” Rafael Velasquez of Miami Beach said, waving a fist at the mayor.

While most of those attending and speaking opposed the mayor’s directive, there were some who did praise him.

“I thought this was supposed to be speaking for citizens, not illegal immigrants,” Chaunce O’Connor said, draped in an American flag.

“Illegal immigrants keep taking the jobs,”resident John King said, according to the Herald. “Simple arithmetic: No jobs, no immigrants.”

“We’re all immigrants. We all have very sad stories,” said Cuban-born Sosa who agreed with the mayor that the decision was only aimed at a small population.

“We’re talking about prisoners,” she said. “We’re talking about people who committed crimes.”

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Frieda Powers

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