ICYMI // Please Forward // Excuse Cross Posting
July 25th 2018
Contact: Armando Carmona, 323- 250-3018, Armando@ndlon.org

FLORIDA: Detained Immigrants and Advocates Sue Miami-Dade County for Complying with ICE Detainer Requests

Miami, Florida – On Tuesday, WeCount! (member of NDLON) along with several immigrant rights organizations, advocates and attorneys filed a class action lawsuit for unlawfully holding immigrants in local jails, a result of their decision to comply with federal ICE detainer requests.

The powerful story was featured in the Miami Herald:

Two undocumented immigrants picked up in Miami-Dade for driving without valid licenses are suing the county for turning them over to immigration authorities under a 2017 policy switch to avoid a promised crackdown by President Donald Trump on so-called “sanctuary” jurisdictions.

The immigrants in the new federal suit — which does not name them — joined immigration groups in a broad denunciation of the policy implemented by Mayor Carlos Gimenez days after Trump took office and ordered federal agencies to withhold funds from state and local governments that don’t cooperate with immigration authorities.

Miami-Dade had been considered a “sanctuary” jurisdiction for immigration offenders under the Obama administration because the county’s policy was to decline detention requests from Washington. The “detainers” keep someone booked on unrelated local charges in jail for an extra 48 hours — plus weekends and holidays — to give immigration officers extra time to take the suspect into federal custody.

The new lawsuit by co-plaintiffs We Count! and the Florida Immigrant Coalition joins a nationwide legal challenge of the federal detainer policy, while seeking to deflate the Gimenez administration’s argument that the extended detentions bolster public safety. The two defendants are described as local business owners who entered the county legal system through traffic infractions and wound up in federal custody on their way to deportation.


In a statement, Jonathan Fried, Executive Director of WeCount! said:

“In February 2017, Miami-Dade County – a metropolitan area with one of the highest percentages of people born outside the United States – reversed its policy of non-compliance with ICE detainers in response to the empty threats of President Trump of withholding federal funding, despite an outpouring of opposition from the community. Since then, Miami-Dade County has allowed itself to be used as a dragnet for Trump’s deportation force.  Over a thousand people arrested on local charges – often by police officers who know that an arrest may result in deportation – have been unconstitutionally held for ICE.  By complying with ICE detainer requests, Miami-Dade County is complicit in separating families.”