DORAL, FLA. (WSVN) - A Miami-Dade judge has ruled that Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez’s enforcement of President Donald Trump’s executive order on immigration violates the U.S. Constitution.
Circuit Judge Milton Hirsch’s ruling during a hearing, Friday morning, is a rebuke of a decision Gimenez made in January.
In January, Gimenez signed an order commanding the director of his corrections department to begin honoring all requests made by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to hold immigration suspects in county jails.
President Trump’s executive order threatened to end federal funding of “sanctuary cities” that decline to cooperate with federal immigration authorities.
Therefore, Gimenez said he would not defy federal orders, which could put the county at risk of losing hundreds of millions of dollars in federal funding.
Gimenez’s measure sparked protests and rallies by immigration advocates across South Florida.
On Friday, Hirsch wrote in a 15-page order that the policy violated the Tenth Amendment, which limits the reach of the federal government over states.
The ruling came in the case of Haitian national, James Lacroix, who challenged the policy when he was held following a series of felony arrests.
Lacroix is one of more than 50 undocumented immigrants who were arrested for crimes and detained in Miami-Dade at the request of the federal government between Jan. 27 and Feb. 16. “The folks that are arrested by Miami-Dade County, a lot of them are pretty serious criminals, and there’s a reason why ICE is interested in them, but that’s all, trying to protect the public’s safety here,” Gimenez said.
“Miami-Dade County should just follow the rules and laws of the Constitution,” said defense attorney Phil Reizenstein. “So, when the county attorney and the counties come to court and say, ‘We’re going to hold people in jail, this case is closed,’ that is unconstitutional. So, that’s been overturned by this judge.'”
But Gimenez was ready to appeal the ruling immediately.
“But the judge doesn’t have standing – this is a federal issue,” explained Gimenez right before the ruling was announced. “And now, the judge does what he does, but I’ve already spoken to our county attorney, and our county attorney does not feel that he has standing. So, it depends on the ruling, and if the ruling goes against what we’re doing, then we’ll appeal it to the court of appeals right away.”
Gimenez continued to say this was not for a circuit court judge to decide. “Immigration is not going to be solved by a court in Miami,” he told 7News after the ruling. “It’s going to be solved by comprehensive immigration reform. So, we will abide by the law, but we believe, and the county attorney believes, that this is not a ruling that will be sustained further applied.”
Meanwhile, advocates of the immigrant community got behind the order. “The detainers are nothing but courtesy holds. They are not constitutional,” said Maria Rodriguez with Florida Immigrant Coalition.
The county has since filed an appeal to the third district court of appeals. Gimenez said not much will change due to Friday’s order by the circuit judge.
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