Regalado: City of Miami ‘will not comply’ with ‘sanctuary city’ order

MIAMI (WSVN) - City of Miami Mayor Tomás Regalado took to Twitter to announce he has no intention of complying with President Donald Trump’s executive order aimed at denying federal funds to so-called sanctuary cities that shield undocumented immigrants from deportation.

The tweets, posted Friday night, suggest Regalado is at odds with Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez, who said he will enforce the commander in chief’s order. On Thursday, Gimenez ordered county jails to comply with federal immigration authorities.

Regalado tweeted, “@MiamiPD’s job is to protect and serve the residents of the @CityofMiami. I am disappointed with the decision of the County.”

He went on to respond to another Twitter user, “I am an immigrant. The City of Miami will not comply. However, Miami-Dade County is a whole different government.”

Earlier on Friday, more than 50 protesters objecting to Gimenez’s enforcement of the Trump administration’s agenda surrounded Miami-Dade County Hall to voice their concerns.

“He just created a fear in Miami that, it’s palpable as of now,” said protester Juan Carlos Carabantes with United We Dream. “It’s in the air, and our community is feeling it.”

Demonstrators held signs and filled the area in front of the Stephen P. Clark Center. Some even made their way to the entrance in an effort to get Gimenez’s attention.

“I was a former student, and now I’m working. I have never committed a crime, and all I do is work for my family to provide for my family,” said protester Eiejo Ramirez. “Just because I was not born here, I did not choose what side of the world to be born, I’m still considered a criminal.”

Protesters screamed “shame on you” and “Mayor Carlos Gimenez is an immigrant too.” In Spanish, they chanted “Gimenez, we are in the fight.”

Demonstrators said they are in fear of their future and feel that Gimenez betrayed them by going along with President Trump’s agenda.

“You became American citizens, you can’t turn around and throw the federal position of ICE on our police force,” said protester Christy Figueras.

Gimenez released a memo Thursday that ordered county jails to comply with federal immigration authorities and will detain undocumented immigrants who have committed a crime.

“We took an oath when we took office that we would defend and protect the constitutional laws of the United States, the State of Florida and Miami-Dade County,” Gimenez said in an interview on Fox & Friends.

The memo came after Trump’s executive order where he threatened to cut federal funding to counties and cities that do not comply with federal immigration authorities.

Gimenez’s office said they have already worked with the federal government and not much will change now. “We have always cooperated with the federal government. We will continue to cooperate with the federal government,” said Michael A. Hernández, the director of communications for Mayor Carlos Gimenez, “and that is what the order did – a continuation of the cooperation. Miami-Dade Police officers are not immigration enforcement agents, nor will they ever be.”

The ordeal already caused confusion in a Miami-Dade courtroom, Friday. “I don’t know. I’m a criminal court judge. I don’t handle immigration matters,” said Judge Mindy S. Glazer. “Yesterday, I guess, before the mayor made his announcement, it was only a request to hold. Now since the mayor made his announcement, they are going to put, in fact, an immigration hold for deportation. That’s what they said.”

Gimenez was not in town on Friday, unable to face those who said he is putting money over his family and his office. “We are not going to jeopardize and never will jeopardize federal funding,” Hernández said.

The compliance brings an already existing fear for families and children of undocumented immigrants in the Miami-Dade school system.

“Some have already come to us expressing stress, concerned not for themselves because, again, their rights are protected, but obviously, for their parents’ rights,” said Miami-Dade Schools Superintendent Alberto Carvalho. “This is an issue, at the very least, heart wrenching, heart breaking and one that we must find a solution that’s both human and humane.”

The mayor’s office also clarified that they have never been considered a sanctuary community and reiterated that they are complying with the federal government. “We are not going to jeopardize, and never will jeopardize, federal funding,” said Hernández.

In response to Regalado’s tweets, Gimenez’s office told 7News that the City of Miami has no jurisdiction over this matter. If, for example, an undocumented immigrant is arrested in Miami, they have to be taken to a county jail because there are no jails within the city limits.

Meanwhile, a spokesperson for the City of Miami acknowledged the county does have control over such arrests.

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