MIAMI, FL – A legal challenge to Miami-Dade County’s policy of arresting and jailing people for ICE upon request has survived multiple motions to dismiss filed by both the county and the federal government. On Friday, Judge Kathleen Williams from the U.S. District Court of the Southern District of Florida issued a 69-page order in the case of Creedle v. Miami-Dade County et al. writing that the plaintiff, Garland Creedle, “has plausibly alleged that his Fourth Amendment rights were violated when the County arrested him pursuant to a detainer because the County was not authorized under either state or federal law to effectuate an arrest without a warrant or probable cause that he had committed a crime.”
Under the county’s detainer policy, county jail officials re-arrest people for civil immigration violations at the end of their criminal custody, upon request by ICE. The lawsuit argues that the policy violates both federal and Florida law, including the prohibition against unlawful seizures under the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. The lawsuit was filed by the American Civil Liberties Union of Florida, the University of Miami School of Law’s Immigration Clinic, and Kurzban, Kurzban, Weinger, Tetzeli & Pratt, P.A.
“Miami-Dade County’s policy of blindly agreeing to all ICE detainer requests is unconstitutional,” said ACLU of Florida Staff Attorney Amien Kacou. “When local law enforcement fulfills warrantless ICE detainer requests, they violate the trust of the communities they are supposed to protect. The County should not be allowed to escape legal responsibility for turning its back on its community and supercharging the Trump administration’s reckless anti-immigrant machine.”
The suit, filed on behalf of a 19-year-old United States citizen, sues Miami-Dade County as well as the federal government. Garland Creedle was jailed at Turner Guilford Knight Correctional Center after police arrested him during a domestic dispute. Creedle paid his bond shortly after he was arrested, but county jail officials failed to release him and instead held him for immigration officials, which constitutes a re-arrest. No criminal charges were ever filed against Creedle.
Miami-Dade County has been arresting people in jail for federal immigration enforcement officials ever since President Trump threatened in January of 2017 to cut off funding for cities deemed “sanctuary cities.” As a result, the County Commissioners voted in February 2017 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 the loss of federal funding, the Mayor and Commission have not reconsidered their position on immigration detainers.
Creedle was born in Honduras to a U.S. citizen father and has been a U.S. citizen from birth. Immigration authorities have been aware of Creedle’s U.S. citizenship since 2015 when they filed a motion to terminate immigration court proceedings against Creedle because he is a U.S. citizen.
Other U.S. cities — large and small — have vowed to continue to keep local law enforcement separate from immigration enforcement, including Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Cincinnati, Denver, San Francisco, Syracuse, and Washington, D.C.
A copy of the court order can be found here: https://www.aclufl.org/sites/default/files/order-on-motion-to-dismiss-creedle.pdf