It’s been more than a year since Miami-Dade County agreed to comply with federal requests to hand over undocumented immigrants – and immigrant advocates claim the controversial decision has cost Miami-Dade millions more than expected.
Last year Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez ordered the county’s jails to turn over to the feds detainees who are undocumented immigrants. His reason: President Trump threatened to withhold some $300 million in federal grants.
Immigrant advocacy groups say the county is paying anyway. Their new report – "The Cost of Complicity" – claims that honoring the federal detainer requests has cost Miami-Dade almost $14 million. It says that’s largely because the immigrant detainees are spending more time in lock-up than anticipated.
“Their time in local Miami-Dade County jail goes up dramatically: 56 days longer than the average person arrested in Miami-Dade County,” said Alana Greer, the report's author and co-director of the Community Justice Project.
But Mayor Gimenez's office argues the report uses flawed and outdated data – and county officials estimate the length of stay for immigration detainees is only 7 days longer than average.
Last month Miami-Dade asked the Trump Administration to start reimbursing the county for the extra costs. But Greer says the report should convince the mayor to rescind his order.
“Miami-Dade County shouldn’t be the face of Trump’s anti-immigrant agenda," Greer said.
The Florida Immigrant Coalition and WeCount! also took part in the report.