DeSantis accuses Miami-Dade of releasing arrestees with immigration holds

Gov. Ron DeSantis criticized Miami-Dade in a petition filed with the Florida Supreme Court Friday. This is a copy of the declaration public defenders use to ask for ICE holds to be lifted. (AP, Google Streetview, Miami-Dade County)

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, Fla. – Gov. Ron DeSantis accused Miami-Dade County officials on Friday of “refusing to honor” immigration authorities’ hold requests.

Miami-Dade public defenders have been asking the corrections department to exempt some arrestees from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement holds.

In the declarations, the public defenders cite a state law that protects undocumented migrants who are victims or witnesses of certain crimes.

“Miami-Dade appears to be basing this unlawful conduct on fraudulent use of the victim and witness exception,” Gov. Ron DeSantis and his general counsel wrote in a petition to the Florida Supreme Court filed on Friday.

DeSantis claimed this included suspects in cases of attempted murder, domestic violence by strangulation, assault with a deadly weapon, and lewd and lascivious behavior on a minor.

Juan Diasgranados, a spokesman for the Miami-Dade County Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, said Miami-Dade County has honored and actively cooperated with incoming federal detainer requests since 2017.

“Our county remains deeply committed to cooperating with our federal, state, and local partners to ensure safety for our residents and honor the rule of law,” Diasgranados said in a statement.

On Friday, DeSantis petitioned the Florida Supreme Court to set up a grand jury to investigate immigration enforcement issues such as the one he alleged is happening in Miami-Dade County.

“Every prosecutor is always concerned that individuals released to our streets do not endanger the public’s safety. Any decision involving release, including the lifting of a federal detainer, should always be cautiously considered, in accordance with the law,” Ed Griffith, a spokesman for the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office, wrote in an e-mail.

DeSantis also signed a bill on Friday requiring corrections to enter into an agreement with ICE by next year. In 2019, DeSantis signed a bill to require local governments to cooperate with federal immigration enforcement.

“We cannot turn a blind eye to traffickers and smugglers,” Attorney General Ashley Moody said in a statement.

DeSantis also announced the formation of a state strike force. Former U.S. Attorney Lawrence “Larry” Keefe, the state’s public safety czar, released a statement saying the strike force will work with the state attorneys to prosecute human smugglers.

The public information office of the Miami-Dade Public Defender’s Office has yet to respond to a request for comment.

Read DeSantis’ accusation on the petition

This is the 17th paragraph of Gov. Ron DeSantis' petition to the Florida Supreme Court Friday. (.)

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Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has asked that a statewide grand jury be set up to examine networks that illegally smuggle people into the state.

Read DeSantis’ petition

About the Author:

The Emmy Award-winning journalist joined the Local 10 News team in 2013. She wrote for the Miami Herald for more than 9 years and won a Green Eyeshade Award.