Miami-Dade thrust itself into a national debate over President Donald Trump’s immigration efforts when the county’s mayor agreed to start holding local inmates longer when they’re being sought for deportation. But who are the so-called “detainer” requests targeting?
This chart lists the most recent data released by Miami-Dade on 53 detainer requests received since Jan. 27, the day after Mayor Carlos Gimenez ordered local jails to begin honoring them. The mayor’s directive effectively reversed a 2013 policy that had Miami-Dade declining most of the requests. The County Commission endorsed the mayor’s move on a 9 to 3 vote last month.
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[As president, Donald Trump has only tweeted the word “mayor” once — when he endorsed Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez’s new policy on immigration detainers. Read the Miami Herald story that prompted the tweet.]
The latest data covers detainers received through Feb. 16. The requests only cover people booked in county jails on local charges. Miami-Dade agrees to hold the people an extra two days, plus holidays and weekends, after they would otherwise be free to go. The extra detention is designed to give Immigration and Customs Enforcement more time to apprehend the person for alleged immigration-law violations.
Opponents say the detentions amount to illegal incarceration, since they’re not tied to criminal charges. Miami-Dade faces a legal challenge over the policy this week, with a judge expected to rule Friday on whether a Haitian man was properly incarcerated at ICE’s behest in a county jail. Under Miami-Dade’s prior policy toward detainers, he would have been released after serving jail time on driving-without-a-license charges.