U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions made a South Florida stop on Wednesday, promoting work between Miami-Dade County and the federal government when it comes to turning over undocumented immigrants they have arrested.
Sessions gave remarks at PortMiami, along with officials from U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement, saying Miami-Dade is an example of hard work and professional policing, and praising the city for complying with the Department of Justice's policy on "sanctuary city."
Shortly after the administration of President Donald Trump announced they would cut funding for what were labeled "sanctuary cities," Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez announced they would comply with government requirements when it came to reporting undocumented immigrants in their custody who were arrested for other charges.
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Despite impassioned pleas from the public, the county commission supported the decision to cooperate with ICE in a 9-3 vote.
The plan, a reversal of previous county policy, was met with criticism by immigration activists and members of minority communities in Miami-Dade. Gimenez recently announced the federal government awarded the county just over $480,000 for intelligence gathering and operations as a result of their work.
Sessions also criticized the city of Chicago for refusing to report undocumented immigrants under the city's custody. He also addressed the lawsuit that Chicago has filed early this month against the Department of Justice over its efforts to block funding to sanctuary cities.
Gimenez has also said that his police force will not do the job of immigration agents. The mayor and the county are also facing a lawsuit from the American Civil Liberties Union and local attorneys who argue that holding suspects beyond the closing of a criminal case violates the Constitution.
County spokesman Michael Hernandez said earlier on Wednesday that the mayor was going to take the opportunity of meeting Sessions to tell him he supports delaying the deportation of young immigrants who were brought into the country illegally as children. The program known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals is in jeopardy as a group of attorneys general has called on Trump's administration to phase it out.
Despite Sessions' praise of Miami-Dade County, earlier in the day the mayor joined other Republican politicians in rejecting Trump's Tuesday declaration that both white supremacists and those protesting them were to blame for deadly violence in Charlottesville, Virginia.
Sessions did not directly address Trump's remarks but said that what happened in the demonstration in Charlottesville was unacceptable.
"In no way we can accept or apologize for racism, bigotry, and violence and those kinds of things that too often arise in our country," he said.