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Protests Erupt After Miami-Dade Mayor Reverses County’s Immigration Policy

Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez's latest actions on immigration lured protesters to his office on Friday. 

Nearly 100 people showed up to protest the mayor’s decision to comply with President Donald Trump’s executive order on immigration enforcement that threatened to cut federal funds from "sanctuary cities."  The action essentially negates the county's previous stance of not agreeing to hold illegal immigrants in county jails under federal mandate.


 “We’re basically going back to 2014. We will honor the request of the federal government to detain an illegal immigrant in our custody, regardless of the fact that they will pay for it or not," Gimenez said in an interview with Fox News.

During the protest Friday, police officers secured the perimeter. Protestors were not allowed inside the county government office building in downtown Miami. A top security official said the protest zone was outside, not inside the building.  

“It’s really a shame that we are being locked out as an immigrant community, as supporters, as just Miami-Dade County residents, we’re being locked out of our own building that we maintain with our own taxes,” said Lis-Maria Alvarodo, with the American Friends Service Committee. She helped organize the protest. 

Isabela Darocha, a law student at St. Thomas University and one of the demonstrators at County Hall, said the rulings affect her personally.  

“I have not finished my citizenship of status yet, and if he intends to deport everybody who is an immigrant, I would be affected by this,” said Darocha, a former Boston resident.

Alex Gonzalez was on the outskirts of the rally holding a Donald Trump “Make America Great Again” sign, which at one point was yanked out of his hands by an angry protester. 

He’s an American of Cuban descent who says he’s against illegal immigration. 

“I’m here for Trump, I’m here for his policies, I’m here for America,” Gonzalez said. “Laws are not suggestions. People cannot come here wanting to change the laws. The laws are here for a reason. Borders are here for a reason.”

U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison, a Democrat from Minnesota, spoke at the protest. He is running this year for chairmanship of the Democratic National Committee. 

He told the police officers blocking the protesters from entering, “You work for the people of Miami-Dade County, not the federal government.” 

“We don’t like Trump’s order, and we don’t think local officials should comply with it. That is not the will of the people,” Ellison said. 

Eventually some protestors were allowed inside, but a spokesman said Mayor Gimenez was away from his office.