Jeff Sessions Is Coming to Miami to Praise Carlos Gimenez's Immigrant Crackdown UPDATEDEXPAND
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Jeff Sessions Is Coming to Miami to Praise Carlos Gimenez's Immigrant Crackdown UPDATED

Update 8/16: After Donald Trump again defended white supremacists Tuesday, Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez criticized the president and called on him to "unequivocally condemn white supremacists and their actions." County Commissioner Daniella Levine Cava also released a statement criticizing Sessions for speaking in Miami. (More below.)

Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez is already a national embarrassment thanks to his yellow-bellied decision to cow to Donald Trump's nationalistic immigration demands. Now, one of the most racist and ghoulish beings on Planet Earth will make that honor official by holding a speech in Miami tomorrow to praise our dear county mayor.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions — the guy previously deemed too racist to be a federal judge — will take a break from cracking down on the free press, subpoenaing the names of people who visit left-wing websites, and instructing cops to steal money from poor black people to give a speech celebrating Gimenez's January decision to comply with Trump's executive order banning "sanctuary cities," which refused to hold undocumented immigrants in local jails for the feds.

Sessions will speak at 3 p.m. tomorrow at PortMiami. He'll be joined by the acting director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, an agency that spent the first half of 2017 rounding up and arresting immigrants at a record pace.

A protest is already planned outside the event.

At the root of Sessions' speech is Miami's previous role as a "sanctuary city." In short, whenever ICE decides to deport someone, the agency places a "detainer" on them and asks local jails to hold the immigrants until the feds can act. From 2013 to 2017, the Miami-Dade County Commission told its jails not to comply with those ICE requests unless ICE reimbursed the county for the detention costs.

But on January 26, the day after Trump issued an executive order threatening to pull funding from the so-called sanctuary cities, Gimenez immediately caved and said Miami-Dade would comply. In February, the County Commission voted 9-3 to uphold Gimenez's decision despite waves of protest outside county hall, including a weeklong hunger strike. The American Civil Liberties Union warned that Trump's threats were legally hollow.

Both Trump and Fox News have since lauded Gimenez for the choice, and the Department of Justice officially removed the Miami-Dade's "sanctuary" status in an August 4 letter. But months of steady protests have followed, and the mayor is now being sued for illegally holding a U.S. citizen in jail on ICE's behalf. Rumors have swirled that Gimenez's decision was related to the work his son C.J. has done for the Trump Organization as a lobbyist.

Sessions' appearance in Miami-Dade would be gross any time, but it's especially egregious just after a group of violent white nationalists marched around Charlottesville wearing "Make America Great Again" hats before one of their members murdered a peaceful protester. Yesterday Gimenez released a statement claiming he was saddened by the events this weekend in Charlottesville, where racists, neo-Confederates, and outright Nazis rallied before one of them drove a car into a crowd, killing one woman and injuring 19 others. Gimenez claimed Miami-Dade will "continue to be an inclusive community and reject hate such as what was displayed."

Given that the speech tomorrow promises to be filled with thinly veiled and/or outright racism (and will occur less than a week after the Charlottesville terror attack), Gimenez ought to skip the event if he has any bits of loose backbone still floating inside the jelly-filled area that used to house his spine.

But he won't miss the event and instead will stand smiling next to Sessions, a man who said he was upset that South Carolina removed the Confederate from its capitol after white supremacist Dylann Roof killed nine black people at a historically black church. Sessions is the shiny, barely sanitized face of the old, racist South, and instead of standing up and rejecting him like any human with a basic sense of decency would, Gimenez will nod along tomorrow as the AG praises the mayor for instituting a policy that tears apart the families of innocent immigrants.

In case anyone needed further proof, Sessions' statement announcing the speech tomorrow is already offensive and plays into the exact same sort of anti-Latino and anti-immigrant sentiments that motivated many of the "Unite the Right" marchers in Virginia over the weekend. Sessions blames immigrants for committing "violent crime," a statement not backed up by any objective evidence. In fact, crime is actually lower among immigrant communities than in the population at large.

The Department of Justice, however, said it will praise "jurisdictions like Miami-Dade that have increased their cooperation and information-sharing with federal immigration authorities and have demonstrated a fundamental commitment to the rule of law and lowering violent crime."

There is zero objective evidence that shows deportations lower the crime rate. Instead, increased removals have actually been blamed for helping grow the ranks of Central American gangs such as MS-13, which Trump and Sessions claim they're trying to fight. Increasing the deportation machine means tearing spouses away from each other, forcing people fleeing government repression or gang violence back into the nightmares they were trying to flee, and ripping parents from children and effectively orphaning them. All for nothing.

It's clear Gimenez either doesn't understand the implications of bringing Sessions to Miami or simply doesn't care. He will bask in Sessions' praise as the attorney general shames other big-city mayors for having the balls not to deport innocent people.

And Miami will, once more, have a reason to feel ashamed of its leadership.

Update: Gimenez's full statement criticizing Trump is below. Will his outrage lead him to skip Sessions' appearance today? There's no word yet from the mayor's office.

On Wednesday, County Commissioner Daniella Levine Cava, one of the commission's only Democrats, released a statement saying she was offended that Sessions chose to speak in Miami this week.

"I am appalled that Attorney General Sessions is here to showcase Miami-Dade as the only major municipality that retreated from its policy of protecting basic rights for all people no matter their country of origin and immigration status, a change of policy that I actively opposed because it seeks to divide our county and tear families apart," Levine Cava said. "It is especially offensive for Mr. Sessions to put Miami-Dade, a community comprised mostly of minorities and immigrants, in the spotlight the day after the President of the United States inflamed racial and ethnic tensions by refusing to lay 100% of the blame where it must lie."

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