Sacramento Liberals Force Cancellation of ICE Contract, Harm Detainees

FILE - In this April 13, 2009, file photo detainees leave the the cafeteria at the Stewart Detention Facility, a Corrections Corporation of America immigration facility in Lumpkin, Ga. CCA, the largest contractor for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, reached a preliminary agreement in May 2010, to soften confinement, free of charge, at nine immigrant facilities covering more than 7,100 beds. ICE officials see the deal, which includes Stewart, as a precursor to changes elsewhere. (AP Photo/Kate Brumback, File)

One of the complaints progressives have about immigration enforcement is that detainees can be held for a long period of time and away from their families or friends who might want to visit them, and makes it more difficult for attorneys to properly represent them.

ICE currently contracts with county and city jails across the country to house detainees who are awaiting deportation proceedings, which is a win-win. The local government receives funding to defray the cost of running the jail, and ICE doesn’t have to build its own facilities. That detainees can then be housed near their “home” is a bonus.

Apparently Sacramento County officials don’t think it’s such a good thing. Since 2013 they’ve received $6 million a year from ICE to house detainees at the Rio Cosumnes Correctional Center, but county supervisors voted 3-2 this week to cancel the contract. The center currently houses 82 detainees, “most of whom have a previous criminal history,” but one Sacramento lawyer pushed for the county to cancel the contract after seeing a 2015 report detailing “inhumane” treatment of detainees.

Obviously no one wants any prisoner, citizen or not, to be tortured or treated inhumanely. But, come on, look at the standard in California prisons or any prisons nationwide compared to the rest of the world. Yes, abuses happen, but in general nobody here is treated inhumanely.

Supervisor Phil Serna, who voted to cancel the contract, said, “Our budgets are reflective of our values.”

Because of those values, detainees will be moved FURTHER from their families, and Sacramento will lose $6 million in funding for its jail. About the funding, Supervisor Sue Frost said:

“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.”

Hmmm, betcha Serna and his two allies didn’t think about that part.

On the plus side, there are now more beds available for non-detainees.