Media Contact

ACLU of Florida Media Office,, (786) 363-2737

July 10, 2017

MIAMI, FL – The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Florida, with the University of Miami School of Law’s Immigration Clinic and the law firm of Kurzban, Kurzban, Weinger, Tetzeli & Pratt, P.A., have filed a federal lawsuit against Miami-Dade County over its policy of detaining people without a warrant for immigration authorities.

The lawsuit was filed on behalf of an 18-year-old U.S. citizen who was detained under the policy despite being a citizen, and challenges Miami-Dade County’s policy of detaining people beyond the end of their criminal custody solely for a suspected civil immigration violation.

“We warned the county about the dangers posed by the premature decision to cave in to the Trump administration’s anti-immigrant threats,” stated ACLU of Florida immigrants’ rights attorney Amien Kacou. “Miami-Dade County has long prided itself on being a place welcoming to immigrants, and should honor that legacy by joining other cities large and small across the country in refusing to serve as tools of overzealous immigration enforcement policy.”

Adopted by Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez on January 26, 2017, the immigration detainer policy violates the U.S. Constitution, including the prohibition against unlawful seizures under the Fourth Amendment and the guarantee of due process under the Fourteenth Amendment, according to the filing. Florida law also prohibits jail officials from detaining people for civil immigration purposes.

Miami-Dade County has been detaining people in jail for federal immigration enforcement officials ever since President Trump threatened in January to cut off funding for cities deemed “sanctuary cities.” After the County Commissioners voted in February to collaborate with immigration authorities, however, the Trump Administration clarified that only cities that violate federal law would be at risk of losing federal money. Although the County no longer faces loss of federal funding, the Commission has not adopted a new policy on immigration detainers.

The plaintiff in the lawsuit, 18-year-old Garland Creedle, has been a U.S. citizen since birth. Despite this, Creedle was held overnight to begin immigration proceedings against him under the county’s detention policy, following a March 2017 arrest over an alleged domestic dispute for which no charges were filed. Although Creedle was entitled to be released immediately upon posting bond, Miami-Dade officials held him in jail based on the assertion that he is a “removable alien.”

The lawsuit, which names Mayor Gimenez and the county itself as defendants, seeks an order declaring the mayor’s directive on immigration detainers invalid and Mr. Creedle’s detention unconstitutional. It also seeks compensatory damages.