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ICE no longer welcome: California's Sacramento County cancels contract with immigration agency

California's Sacramento County has ended a contract that allowed Immigration and Customs Enforcement to use a detention facility to house illegal immigrants in the county. (2017 file photo/Bryan Cox/U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement via Getty Images)

The Sacramento County Board of Supervisors voted 3-2 Tuesday to cancel its contract with the Department of Homeland Security and Immigration and Customs Enforcement to house detainees at the Rio Cosumnes Correctional Center.

“Our budgets are reflective of our values,” Phil Serna, one of the three supervisors who voted to end the contract, said.

Here's what you need to know

Sacramento County is currently detaining 82 illegal immigrants. Most of them have a prior criminal history.

Now that the contract has been canceled, the illegal immigrants will need to be moved out of the county's facility by June 30. The county and ICE have maintained this contract since 2013.

What are supporters saying?

“We’re hoping that Sacramento sets the trend for this region and that we can move towards adopting better policies for these detainees,” Elizabeth Kim, president of the National Lawyers Guild of Sacramento, told Sacramento's KOVR-TV. Kim had pushed for the vote to take place.

Supporters of this vote point to a 2013 ICE inspection of the facility, which found that out of 16 National Detention Standards reviewed, the RCCC was "compliant with one standard" and had "a total of 49 deficiencies in the remaining 15 standards." The standards that were found to be lacking included things like environmental health and safety and medical care.

What are critics saying?

Supervisor Sue Frost voted to keep the contract. She argued that throwing out this contract was not only short-sighted, but bad for the illegal immigrants themselves.

Frost noted that the immigrants will not be released, but will instead only be moved to another facility. This new facility, she said, would likely be in another state, away from their friends and family in northern California.

“It’s completely symbolic in nature. It doesn’t solve any part of the problem at all,” Frost said.

Frost also pointed out that the county received $6 million a year from this contract. That money was used to help fund the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department. Now the county will have to figure out how to make up the difference.

“We’ll have to look into our discretionary funds and into our other programs to see what we have to cut to figure out how we’re going to pay for that,” Frost added.

One last thing…
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