A vote by Sacramento County supervisors this week to end a contract allowing U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement to rent local jail beds is being celebrated by immigration activists as a major win and a model for national action. Sheriff Scott Jones wanted to maintain the contract, which brings the county $4 million a year.
A vote by Sacramento County supervisors this week to end a contract allowing U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement to rent local jail beds is being celebrated by immigration activists as a major win and a model for national action, the Sacramento Bee reports. “This represents a pinnacle of triumph, and a beacon of hope for the rest of the tactics we are planning to implement,” said Pablo Reyes-Morales of Norcal Resist, a network of trained legal observers focused on immigration issues. “We’re definitely going to try to mimic it.” Richard Morales of Faith in Action, a national faith-based social justice network, said, “It’s morally wrong to be profiting off the suffering of undocumented immigrants, and that is what is happening … We believe that the one way we can slow down the massive deportation machine is by stopping the contracts and the local cooperation.”
Supporters of the contract say ending it will mean a loss of money for local law enforcement and more hardship for the families of those inside. They say some of those being held awaiting deportation proceedings have convictions for violent felonies, though others have minor convictions for crimes like drug offenses or driving under the influence. Some have no convictions at all. Sacramento Sheriff Scott Jones, who was leading the polls after Tuesday’s election, is an outspoken opponent of California’s attempts to shield its undocumented immigrant population from federal crackdowns through “sanctuary” policies that limit the ability of local departments to work with federal immigration authorities. Jones asked supervisors to renew the ICE contract, which it has had since 2013. It pays the county $100 per “bed day” per detainee, bringing the county more than $4 million this year. On Tuesday, three supervisors cast the deciding votes to end the contract despite the sheriff’s appeal.