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South Florida politicians react to Miami-Dade's about-face on immigration detentions

@PatriciaMazzei @doug_hanks

The Miami Herald has asked local members of Congress and county commissioners to weigh in on Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez's decision to comply with federal detention requests for immigrants in the country illegally, abandoning Miami-Dade's prior position as a "sanctuary" county.

President Donald Trump praised Gimenez in a tweet Thursday.

Here's what the local politicians had to say:

U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Florida:

Mayor Gimenez made the right decision.

U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Miami:

I believe that all communities should enforce state and federal laws but federal efforts to force local governments to do the federal government’s job without federal funding constitutes an evasion of responsibility by the federal government. Now that this issue has been fully aired and all local governments around the country are on clear notice of the fiscal consequences of not enforcing federal laws, I support withholding funds from those local governments which in the future choose to ignore federal law.

U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Weston:

The only way to deal with a bully is to confront  him. We need to stand with local officials who should oppose Donald Trump’s intimidating executive order that threatens to strip federal funding from sanctuary cities and counties. This ham-fisted approach will only spread mass anxiety into communities throughout Florida and the country, and split up countless families who are our friends, coworkers and neighbors. We must stand in solidarity with immigrants, and tell the President: "We will stand against you, stand up for our neighbors, and not allow fear and intimidation to bully us into submission."

U.S. Rep. Carlos Curbelo, R-Miami:

Local governments in America have always had to comply with federal law, not only out of respect for the constitutional order, but also to protect the integrity of our nation's laws. However, this new policy focuses on a symptom, not one of the root causes of our flawed immigration system, and has the potential of undermining the work of law enforcement officials investigating serious crimes in urban areas. ‎The real solution is a complete overhaul of our country's immigration system that relies on the rule of law and treats all people with fairness and dignity.

I remain committed to comprehensive immigration reform that includes enhanced border security, the removal of those who have committed serious crimes and a fair and permanent solution for the millions of undocumented immigrants who have been contributing to our economy and improving quality of life for all Americans - in some cases for decades. I hope the Administration maintains its commitment to find such a solution especially for young people who were brought to our country as children, and to work with Congress on a plan to fully address our country's deficient immigration policy. For many years there's been a lot of talk but no action on immigration. The American people deserve better, and now is the time for us to produce results.

Commission Chairman Esteban "Steve" Bovo, a Republican:

We're not anti immigration. This community was built on immigration. But we need to be lawful in the way we do things.

Commissioner Daniella Levine Cava, a Democrat:

I understand that we must follow the laws and hold criminal acts accountable, as we have done in the past. However, we also have the responsibility of protecting the relationship between the community and our police by ensuring that our residents do not fear approaching law enforcement.

Commissioner Joe Martinez, a Republican:

What Trump and Gimenez are taking about is not immigration. It's illegal immigration... I think what [Gimenez] did was the right thing to do.

Commissioner Jean Monestime, a Democrat:

Considering Miami-Dade currently is in full compliance with federal law, I think Mayor Gimenez’s memo is a little bit premature. He could have thought it through longer, for we do have a responsibility to our residents to first weigh the full impact of this directive, fiscal or otherwise, on the entire county.