Aggravated by the underperforming American immigration system, Miami-Dade County has threatened to stop paying for detention centers that currently house undocumented immigrants. As the nation struggles to meet strict budget limitations, Miami-Dade plans to save money by cutting detention centers from its spending.
But county commissioners are concerned with more than the nation’s budget; some call the budget cut an issue of human rights. One county commissioner said, “Not only is it about saving money. It’s about saving people.”
Advocates for the policy shift were namely concerned with an ICE (Immigration & Customs Enforcement) practice that kept prisoners in captivity two days after they were supposed to leave so that the agency could directly relinquish them to federal agents.
Miami-Dade has participated in a federal Secure Communities program since 2009, which allows ICE and law enforcement to share the fingerprints, names, and personal information of potential non-citizens with criminal records.
Last year alone, ICE deported more than 400,000 people, research suggests.
Even though ICE updated its detention policies last year, proponents for immigration reform are still fed up with holding centers. According to the Miami Herald, ICE limited detainment to repeat immigration offenders and dangerous criminals, keeping people without serious criminal records from being held in detention centers.
It costs approximately $142 to keep an individual in detainment. According to a county commissioner, this amount does not reflect healthcare costs. Now, the federal government will reimburse Miami-Dade $82 per day for immigrants held in detainment past their release date. According to new sources, the government is not obligated to pay a full reimbursement.
In the past, Miami-Dade received significantly less money for detention centers than smaller Florida counties, even though it submitted hundreds of thousands of dollars in invoices each year.
At this point, it would be difficult to pinpoint who is at fault for the oversight or who is obligated to support the detainment centers; the government could have denied payment, while Miami-Dade County could have used more persuasive tactics to obtain payment.
For additional information about deportation, ICE detention centers, and other immigration-related topics, visit our website. If you or someone you love needs an immigration attorney in Miami-Dade county, contact the legal team at Pozo Goldstein, LLP today.