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By Gary Nelson

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MIAMI (CBSMiami) — Attorneys for a detained immigrant and Miami-Dade squared off in court Thursday over Mayor Carlos Gimenez’s and the county commission’s decision to honor ICE requests to hold arrested immigrants beyond the time they would otherwise be released.

“The Constitution and the Bill of Rights require probable cause,” attorney Louis Reizenstein told Circuit Judge Milton Hirsch.

The county’s detentions for ICE have made for huge controversy and protest. The case before the court Thursday involves James Lacroix, a Haitian immigrant charged with chronically driving without a license. But Judge Hirsch’s decision promises to essentially uphold or overturn the county’s policy.

“There is no authority for states to hold individuals under a federal detainer request when their case is closed,” Reizenstein said.

The county countered it has entered into a reasonable agreement with the feds.

“Please, hold this individual on our behalf, pursuant to our authority to detain him, for 48 hours so we can coordinate our agents to go pick that individual up,” said County Attorney Michael Valdes in explaining the ICE requests.

“They think 48 hours is a short period of time?” said Reizenstein. “Let them go sit in the jail for 48 hours and tell us how it feels. This is unconstitutional.”

The mayor and commission agreed to the ICE detention requests for fear of losing federal funding. The detainee’s attorney calls it an unconstitutional ‘caving in.’

“This is nothing more than the federal government threatening and black-mailing states and Miami-Dade County,” Reizenstein said.

The county argued that, in any event, prolonged detention of arrested immigrants is an issue that should be taken up in federal, not state courts.

Judge Hirsch said he will issue his decision Friday morning at 9 o’clock.

As for the Haitian immigrant James LaCroix, ICE picked him up from the county jail for deportation Wednesday, where he was being held after completing his sentence of 7 days for time served.

But this case isn’t about deportation. It’s about the detention policy, one in which the judge may or may not upend on Friday.


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