UPDATE: 3/3  9:15 a.m.

The controversial Miami-Dade County policy to hold immigrants facing deportation for federal officials is being called  unconstitutional.  That's the ruling made today from a circuit court judge, on the case of a Haitian Immigrant, arrested for a traffic violation.   

Because Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez had already decided the county will follow the Trump administration's new rules to hold illegal immigrants, he was supposed to be kept in jail until immigration officers retrieved him.   


Attorney Philip Reizenstein who represented LaCroix (for this hearing)...

"The government and the state can't hold these people for no reason. If the case is closed, they have to be released. We don't keep people in jail in this country for no reason while the federal government decides whether they're going to take custody of them or not."

"They can make all the requests they want but we don't keep people in jail when their case is closed and there's no reason to hold them while the government waits 24, 48, 72 hours to get their act together."

"We're going to disseminate this. It's going to go to lawyers throughout Dade County, throughout the state of Florida and hopefully throughout the country because this is an issue everywhere."

"I would love them (the federal government) to intervene on this appeal and I would love to get them in writing on this and make them defend their policies."

"This is a great start because this is a win for the Constitution, individual rights and the rule of law. This is a judge who was not going to be threatened by the President of the United States. This is a great win."

He also believes that this order could be used to make sure people who post bond are not held for detainer requests either.

But now it's not clear what will happen to James Lacroix and the policy, especially since Mayor Gimenez has promised to immediately appeal today's ruling.

Judge Milton Hirsch is the first judge in the country to hear a legal challenge to the President's order to deport immigrants who commit crimes in this country.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

A Haitian man is fighting deportation after habitual traffic offenses.

It's the first legal challenge under President Trump's new immigration policy.  Criminal defense attorney, Mark Eiglarsh, says this is going to have a huge impact on the criminal justice system.

"If they're holding people for finishing their sentences for minor offenses like driving with a suspended license, there's going to be countless other defendants who aren't going to take plea bargains and insist on going to trial because they fear deportation," said Eiglarsh.

Haitian national, James Lacroix, will have a hearing in a Miami-Dade courtroom Thursday to explore the legal authority the county jail has for keeping him behind bars.


(Alicia Gentile)