Immigrant Detention Costs Miami-Dade Residents

On Tuesday, Sept. 10, SEIU Local 1991 will stand with a broad coalition of community organizations to call on Miami-Dade County to stop its practice of holding immigrant detainees for ICE.

The request is based on the findings of a new study that shows the great fiscal impact this policy has on the county budget, as well as the families torn apart by Secure Communities

Miami-Dade County’s practice of prolonging the detention of immigrants in its jails at the request of Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (“ICE”) is costing Miami-Dade taxpayers millions of dollars annually in unreimbursed costs.

 A careful analysis by Edward Ramos, Yale Public Interest Fellow and attorney at Kurzban Kurzban Weinger Tetzeli and Pratt, found that honoring ICE immigration detainers costs Miami-Dade taxpayers approximately $12.5 million annually.

 Through ICE’s “Secure Communities” program, biometric data of all persons arrested in the county is passed on to ICE, which runs the data through its databases and issues “detainers” for persons it wishes to take into custody.  Detainers routinely are issued prior to resolution of any criminal charges.  The large majority of the over 4,000 persons deported in Miami-Dade County through Secure Communities since 2009 have no criminal record or were convicted of minor offenses.

 The County’s current policy of complying with ICE detainers and prolonging the detention of immigrants at ICE’s bidding makes our neighborhoods less safe because it adds to many immigrants’ fear of local police officers and contributes to the separation of families in our community.

 “We have been concerned for a long time about the social impact of ‘Secure Communities’ and the County’s compliance with ICE detainer requests,” said Jonathan Fried, Executive Director of WeCount! in Homestead.  “Now we also know that it’s costing taxpayers big time, and it’s within the County’s power to make a change.”

 In July, Miami-Dade County Attorney R.A. Cuevas, Jr. confirmed that County “compliance with ICE detainer requests is voluntary and not mandated by federal law and regulations,” paving the way for Miami-Dade to join other counties, cities, and states that have decided to no longer honor detain immigrants based on ICE detainer requests. New Orleans, Los Angeles, and Newark, NJ, are the latest to change their policies. This is why community leaders and immigrant families are asking Miami-Dade County to end its practice of unnecessarily prolonging the detention of immigrants at ICE’s bidding.

 As Cheryl Little, Americans for Immigrant Justice Executive Director said, “Why should local taxpayers fund extra beds in local jails to help the federal government deport people who pose no threat to Miami-Dade County?”

The conference will be held Tuesday, September 10, 2013, 3 p.m. at 3000 Biscayne Boulevard, Miami FL 33127

The organizations supporting this issue include:

American Civil Liberties Union, Greater Miami Chapter

American Friends Service Committee

Americans for Immigrant Justice

Florida Immigrant Coalition

Haitian Women of Miami

Kurzban Kurzban Weinger Tetzeli and Pratt P.A

Miami Workers Center

Research Institute on Social and Economic Policy at Florida International University

SEIU 1991


University of Miami School of Law Immigration Clinic



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