Roughly 80 immigrant detainees were removed from a California jail and transferred to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) facilities in Colorado and Washington as a result of the jail terminating its contract with the federal agency.
The West County Detention Facility in Richmond, California, ended its contract with ICE in July. Public pressure influenced the decision, among other factors, according to a San Francisco Chronicle report on July 10.
“The outstanding work by the over 1,000 employees of the office of the sheriff has been overshadowed by the attention the ICE contract brings, even though immigration is a matter of federal law,” Contra Costa County Sheriff David Livingston said, the Chronicle reported. “Managing protests in Richmond have become expensive and time-consuming for our staff.”
Over 1,000 protesters against President Donald Trump’s family separation policy gathered in the detention’s parking lot in June, the Chronicle reported Thursday. (RELATED: ICE Arrests Illegal Immigrants In Workers Union, Infuriating One DNC Member)
The jail was also under fire for mistreatment allegations of detainees, including female detainees who were allegedly in toilet-less cells for 23 hours at a time, according to the Chronicle on Nov. 2, 2017. The accusations prompted state and federal officials to call for probes to look into jail conditions, though sheriff officials denied that detainees were locked up for long periods of time.
ICE confirmed that approximately 60 detainees were moved to a Colorado facility while 20 were placed in a facility in Washington state over a period of time.
The sheriff’s office had no involvement with where the detainees were moved “after we terminated our contract with ICE last month,” Jimmy Lee, spokesman for the Contra Costa County Sheriff’s Office, told the Chronicle Thursday.
Immigrant rights activists and ICE officials were not pleased with the transportation of detainees from the jail to ICE facilities.
“These people are now robbed of legal representation as their attorneys don’t have the capacity to travel to other states, and witnesses will no longer be able to present evidence,” Juan Prieto, a representative for the California Immigrant Youth Justice Alliance, told the Chronicle Thursday.
ICE spokesperson Richard Rocha said the consequences as a result of the jail terminating its contract should not have been a surprise.
“When we were notified of the decision, ICE made it abundantly clear in July that it would have to now rely on its national system of detention bed space to house detainees,” Rocha told The Daily Caller News Foundation. “When ICE is not allowed to work with local jurisdictions to house detainees closer to their families, friends and attorneys, farther facilities must be utilized.”
TheDCNF reached out to the California Immigrant Youth Justice Alliance and the Contra Costa County Sheriff’s Office for comment, but did not receive a response in time for publication.
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