Contra Costa is Cutting Ties With ICE

Contra Costa County will become the state’s third jurisdiction to abandon an agreement with Immigration and Customs Enforcement that allows for the housing of immigrant detainees.

For the past 9 years, Contra Costa has allowed ICE to detain immigrants at the West County Detention Facility in Richmond, an agreement that brings in about $3 million in revenue each year. But the political and monetary costs of the contract have become unsustainable, the county's sheriff said. With mass protests regularly taking place outside the facility, resources are suddenly strapped. The jails costs are rising while reimbursement rates from the federal government remain mostly flat.

Maintaining the contract also appears to carry increasing legal risk. On the very day Contra Costa made its announcement, the ACLU filed personal injury claims on behalf of nine women who say they were abused during transport from the Richmond facility to the Mesa Verde Detention Facility in Bakersfield.

ICE spokeswoman Lori Haley said detainees will be the ones who suffer most from the county’s decision, as they will have to be transferred to another facility further away from family. ICE made the same argument after Sacramento canceled its contract with the feds earlier this year

Per the agreement, Contra Costa is required to give the federal government a notice of 120 days.