ACLU Statement on Attorney General Sessions Visit to Miami

Affiliate: ACLU of Florida
August 16, 2017 3:15 pm

ACLU Affiliate
ACLU of Florida
Media Contact
125 Broad Street
18th Floor
New York, NY 10004
United States

WASHINGTON — Attorney General Jeff Sessions is visiting Miami today to praise Miami-Dade County for abandoning their “sanctuary cities” policies.

Across the United States, police have protected their ability to fight crime by deciding that they will not let immigration enforcement get in the way of their core public safety mission. Hundreds of jurisdictions have therefore refused to honor warrantless federal detainer requests, which have been held to violate people’s civil rights. Miami-Dade law enforcement previously followed that sensible policy. But earlier this year, Mayor Gimenez ordered, and the county commission acquiesced, a change in policy, caving to threats from the Trump administration.

Lorella Praeli, director of immigration policy and campaigns with the American Civil Liberties Union, issued the following reaction:

“Sanctuary city policies improve public safety, protect immigrants, and promote trust between communities and police. Instead of protecting Floridians, Mayor Carlos Gimenez turned his back on the community and Miami-Dade County became an extension of Trump’s mass deportation force.

“This approach, encouraged by the administration, is not about public safety, but rather intended to advance policies that are hostile to immigrants by any means possible. Through unconstitutional detainer practices, these policies encourage the violation of our constitutional guarantee to live securely and freely without harassment or unreasonable arrests.

“The federal government cannot force local law enforcement to cede their responsibilities to the Trump administration’s anti-immigrant agenda, and it cannot threaten them by inventing new funding rules.

“We’re grateful for the many cities that have stood strong. Miami is a major outlier in caving to the Trump administration’s desires, despite a court order blocking President Trump’s anti-sanctuary executive order. We urge others to hold their ground — the law is on our side. These policies protect all people, including non-citizens, and the rule of law.

“We urge President Trump, Attorney General Sessions, the Department of Justice, and Mayor Gimenez to give up this crusade. Public safety must not be another sacrifice of this administration.”

Amien Kacou, staff attorney with the ACLU of Florida, said:

“Instead of standing with its residents against the Trump administration’s overreach and unacceptable immigration platform, Miami-Dade caved to the administration’s bullying tactics. “The anti-immigrant policy adopted by Miami-Dade County violates the Constitution, including the prohibition against unlawful seizures under the Fourth Amendment and the guarantee of due process under the Fourteenth Amendment. Residents of Miami-Dade, both citizens and non-citizens, now have to worry about the possibility of spending days in jail without charge.

“We’re saddened by the decision of Miami-Dade Mayor and County Commissioners to adhere to this unlawful immigration policy, but we remain committed to defending our neighbors and the Constitution. By enforcing this anti-immigrant policy, Attorney General Sessions and Mayor Gimenez will endanger public safety, all in an effort to expand the administration’s mass deportation force. We encourage all cities and counties to stand strong and adopt freedom cities’ policies to protect the rights of all.”

Sign up to be the first to hear about how to take action.

Learn More About the Issues in This Press Release