By now, you’re probably familiar with the concept of “sanctuary cities,” a state and local policy that prohibits police officers from cooperating with federal immigration officials regarding deportations.
But what about an effective sanctuary court that orders municipalities to avoid compliance with detainer requests? Look no further than Miami-Dade county in Florida, where a judge just issued a ruling claiming that the county’s holding of arrested immigrants pursuant to ICE detainer requests violates the Constitution.
The case involves a Hatian immigrant who was arrested on charges of repeated driving a motor vehicle without a license. The county was holding him, but ICE sent a request that he be held for an additional 48 hours so that agents could pick him up for further proceedings.
The attorneys in the case argue that such detention is improper, because it goes beyond what the man would have been held for otherwise, according to local CBS Miami.
“They think 48 hours is a short period of time?” said Reizenstein. “Let them go sit in the jail for 48 hours and tell us how it feels. This is unconstitutional.”
The mayor and commission agreed to the ICE detention requests for fear of losing federal funding. The detainee’s attorney calls it an unconstitutional ‘caving in.’
The case, though regarding arrested immigrants, is not about deportation, but detention procedure.
The county argued that, in any event, prolonged detention of arrested immigrants is an issue that should be taken up in federal, not state courts.
As for the Haitian immigrant James LaCroix, ICE picked him up from the county jail for deportation Wednesday, where he was being held after completing his sentence of 7 days for time served.
But this case isn’t about deportation. It’s about the detention policy, one in which the judge upended on Friday.
The county argues correctly that such a litigation should be held in federal, not state court. After all, immigration policy is one of the plenary powers of Congress, and is a federal issue; as such the federal courts have jurisdiction, not the States.
The controversy is not over yet though, as the county will likely appeal the ruling.