Miami-Dade and Broward could stand to lose federal funding following President Donald Trump's signing of an executive action to block grants from going to so-called "sanctuary cities."
Trump's order to crack down on sanctuary cities — locales that don't cooperate with immigration authorities — could cost individual jurisdictions millions of dollars.
The Justice Department lists Miami-Dade as a "sanctuary city," along with Broward and Palm Beach.
According to the Miami Herald, Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez ordered Thursday county jails to comply with Trump's executive order.
"We believe that no human being is illegal," South Florida immigration advocate Lis Marie Alvarado said.
Alvarado, who works for an immigration advocacy group that helps migrants adjust to American life, said she believes no migrant, undocumented or otherwise, should be deported. She believes President Trump's order, which puts pressure on sanctuary cities, is unfair because it in turn puts pressure on the migrant population.
"We don't want a situation in which, where we have local police doing immigration's job, but we don't want a situation where the school system is giving out information on their students," Alvarado said.
President Trump's crackdown on immigration could create a culture of fear among the migrant population, who may be afraid to call the police should help be needed, Alvarado said.
"We don't want our tax dollars to be used in that. We want to make sure our communities trust police and we are able to live in safe communities," she said.
But the angst may be a feeling in futility. Gimenez said the county doesn't recognize itself as a sanctuary city. And the Broward Sheriff's Office said they comply with federal immigration law.
"We comply with all state and federal laws on immigration. We advise ICE and all the federal agencies whenever we detain somebody that is an illegal immigrant," Gimenez said.
The discrepancy with the Justice Department may be because if an undocumented individual is arrested, the county jail can't pay for extended holds.
"We don't hold them forever because frankly the federal government doesn't pay for us to hold them," Gimenez said.
Trump's order could be an expensive proposition that comes down to semantics.
"We feel and our attorneys think that we are not a sanctuary city and so maybe it's a question of definition. If that's the case maybe we need to get together with the federal government to determine what it is, why they consider us to be a sanctuary city," Gimenez said.