MIAMI (AP) – Miami-Dade County’s commissioners have voted to uphold a mayor’s decree ordering local authorities to cooperate with immigration agencies after detaining migrants suspected of being in the county illegally.
The vote drew outbursts and shouts of “shame on you” from residents at the meeting.
In a 9-3 vote, the commissioners sided with the mayor in saying they feared the county could lose federal funding after President Donald Trump threatened to strip it from sanctuary cities. Most of them said the decision should not affect law-abiding immigrants.
In emotional speeches ahead of the Friday vote, dozens stood up to speak against the mayor’s decision, including school-age children of deportees, young people brought to the U.S. illegally as children, construction workers, lawyers and rights activists.
The mayor is an immigrant, and more than half its residents are foreign born.
But unlike many cities with large numbers of immigrants, there’s no sanctuary for people living illegally in Miami-Dade County, Florida. A recent decision by Mayor Carlos Gimenez requires local police to cooperate with federal officials to enforce immigration law.
The decree has roiled the area, drawing criticism from the mayors of Miami and Miami Beach cities. Immigration advocates and others opposed to the shift have filled the streets in protest, and a long-standing divide between Cuban-Americans and other Latinos has reappeared. Meanwhile, farmworkers who have lived in the area for years to plant and harvest vegetables on vast commercial farms fear they’ll be deported.
The county’s commissioners have called for a special meeting Friday to confront the mayor.
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