When Miami-Dade commissioners voted unanimously three years ago to stop honoring most detention requests from federal immigration authorities, Sally Heyman hailed it as a milestone for justice.
“Every once in a while, we are in a position to not only make social change, or make a difference, but help create a difference of such significance it literally equalizes what otherwise would be a great social injustice,” Heyman said at a Dec. 18, 2013, press conference hailing the legislation passed a day earlier that she had sponsored. “Not only is it about saving money. It’s about saving people.”
Heyman’s lofty statements contrast with the more practical arguments she has made in recent days defending Mayor Carlos Gimenez’s order to reverse the 2013 policy and begin honoring 48-hour detention requests for people already in a county jail on a local charge. Gimenez made his Jan. 26 order the day after President Donald Trump demanded cuts in millions of dollars in federal funds for “sanctuary” communities — cities and counties that defy detention requests.
Heyman and other commissioners seem likely to get the chance to decide again whether to resume past defiance of Washington’s wishes when it comes to holding suspected immigration violators. On Thursday, commission chairman Esteban “Steve” Bovo called for a rare special meeting for Feb. 17 to address Gimenez’s order, which has raised legal questions about his authority to alter adopted board policy.
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