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Miami-Dade police assure undocumented immigrants that there is no change in police policy

County officials say it's up to ICE to issue detain order for immigrants

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, Fla. – President Donald Trump is calling for an end to sanctuary cities, and Miami-Dade County has been ordered to comply.

But how will that be enforced?

"The perception is that the police are going to go knocking on doors. That is not going to happen," Miami-Dade police spokesman Alvaro Zabaleta said.

Miami-Dade police want to make it abundantly clear that they do not want to lose the trust of their citizens, documented or not.

Police said there is no change in their policing policy.

If an officer pulls someone over for a traffic stop or a minor infraction, they are not going to ask them whether they are an illegal immigrant. That is not their job.

However, those who commit a crime and are arrested will continue be detained if they have an Immigration and Customs Enforcement hold.

"(We hold them for) 48 hours, according to the law," Miami-Dade Director of Communications Michael Hernandez said.

Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez said that prior to Trump's threats to withhold federal funds from so-called sanctuary cities and counties, the federal government reimbursed the county for the 48-hour hold.

Gimenez said the county will now waive that requirement.

"We used to require the federal government to assure us that they were going to reimburse us for the cost of that prisoner until they picked them up. We no longer will require that," Gimenez told reporters Thursday. "So we're taking away any kind of excuse as to why the federal government could withhold any federal aid to Miami-Dade County, which is millions and millions of dollars."

However, Hernandez said it will be up to ICE to make sure that they send Miami-Dade corrections a detain order during the time the undocumented immigrant is in jail.

"Even if you are undocumented and you are arrested, it is under the purview of Immigrations and Customs Enforcement to order a detain order -- to send Miami-Dade corrections a detain order," Hernandez said. "If they come after 48 hours, that individual cannot legally be in our custody."

Gimenez clarified his position Friday, tweeting that "it is important for our residents to understand that the Miami-Dade Police Department is not an immigration enforcement agency."

"My executive order did nothing to change that," he said.


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