Carlos Gimenez, the mayor of Miami-Dade County, ordered all county jails in his jurisdiction to begin complying with federal immigration authorities after President Donald Trump signed an executive order threatening to strip sanctuary counties and cities of federal funding if they do not cooperate.
“In light of the provisions of the Executive Order,” Gimenez said in a letter to the corrections department, “I direct you and your staff to honor all immigration detainer requests received from the Department of Homeland Security.”
Miami-Dade has refused to detain inmates for ICE since 2013, but the county’s position was based on economics, not ideology. They chose not to comply because the federal government would not fully reimburse them for the cost of keeping the inmates in jail.
From the Miami Herald:
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.
Gimenez said it came down to fiscal common sense. “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.
President Trump wasted no time praising Miami-Dade for the decision. “Miami-Dade Mayor drops sanctuary policy,” he wrote on Twitter. “Right decision. Strong!”
Imagine that. President Obama “tried” to get these sanctuary cities to cooperate with federal immigration agents for eight years without success. Trump, meanwhile, has been president for only a week and he’s already making progress. Of course, it helps that Trump is actually interested in enforcing the nation’s immigration laws and isn’t just making a show of it to appease moderates.
Once the rubber meets the road, we’re likely to see more of these sanctuary cities reconsider their policies. Some will be defiant, no doubt, but many will choose federal funding over a nonsensical, illegal decree. And once illegal immigrants begin swarming into the cities that remain sanctuaries, residents there may have a change of heart.
This was one of the top issues of Trump’s campaign, and he is well on his way to living up to his promises.