Dade changes course, pulls "sanctuary" status one day after Trump's crackdown

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The order threatened to cut funds to "sanctuary cities", local governments that don't cooperate fully with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

Gimenez told the county´s Department of Corrections it must "honor all immigration detainer requests received from the Department of Homeland Security", the mayor´s spokesman, Michael Hernandez, told AFP.

Miami-Dade was officially recognized as a "sanctuary city" by the federal government but they have resisted the label and never declared itself so.

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The Republican mayor was seeking favor with the president, who on Wednesday announced federal funding would be cut to so-called "sanctuary" cities.

Mayor Gimenez said: "I want to make sure we don't put in jeopardy the millions of funds we get from the federal government for a $52,000 issue", he said.

"That policy was put into place to protect the immigrant community from a federal agency that was out of control, using local law enforcement as a dragnet to deport immigrants and separate families", said activists Lis-Marie Alvarado, of American Friends Service Committee. "It doesn't mean that we're going to be arresting more people".

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Gimenez said the county will now waive that requirement.

The orders signed on Wednesday also eliminate the "catch and release" policy that returned border-crossers to Mexico rather than detaining and processing them for deportation. "Miami-Dade County complies with federal law and intends to fully cooperate with the federal government".

Those at the rally said this went beyond the financial issue, it was instead a moral one, and they were surprised that Gimenez did not stand fast like the mayors of New York, Chicago and Los Angeles. They're confident their status as sanctuary cities - jurisdictions that have policies in place created to limit cooperation with or involvement in federal immigration enforcement actions - is secure.

Police said there is no change in their policing policy.

It wasn't just Gimenez in Miami-Dade who feared losing federal funding.

Supporters of sanctuary policies argue that holding individuals exclusively for immigration purposes is illegal, and some courts have agreed.

The order also directed the departments of Justice and Homeland Security to identify federal grants that can be withheld from sanctuary cities that continue their practices.