Letters to the Editor

Returning common sense to Dade’s immigrant detainer policies

This week, the Department of Justice released a memo stepping back from President Trump’s “sanctuary cities” crackdown. The memo reconfirms what business leaders, immigrant advocates, and legal experts have been saying for months — there is no justification for diverting the resources of our local police and creating new pathways to deportation in Miami-Dade. It’s time to bring back a common sense detainer policy.

Fearing loss of infrastructure, education, and transportation funding, the Miami-Dade County Commissioners voted in February to use local law enforcement to hold immigrants for ICE, at local taxpayers’ expense. We now know that our previous policy, which saved the county millions, never put that federal funding at risk. The new memo, along with multiple court orders that preceded it, confirms this.

Turning our backs on our community’s immigrant roots has cast Miami-Dade, and the business community that makes it thrive, under a shadow of negativity on the national and international stage. For a county that depends on tourism and trade, our reputation matters.

Miami-Dade’s 2013 detainer policy never placed us in the narrow category of “sanctuary cities,” since we have always been in compliance with the federal information-sharing requirements. The Mayor’s train goals were never at risk, but our families still are.

We need our elected leaders to make sensible policies for our community and to get us back on the right side of history. Miami-Dade Commissioners voted on this policy under a cloud of real fears about funding decisions. We now know the facts, and the calculus for Miami-Dade County has to change.

Mike Fernandez, chair, MBF Healthcare Partners,

Founder of IMPAC Fund, Miami

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