Contra Costa Sheriff’s Office Terminates Contract with ICE to Hold Detainees

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On Tuesday afternoon, Sheriff David Livingston announced the end of the contract with ICE and within the next 120-days, the West County Detention Center in Richmond will no longer detain undocumented immigrants.

Here is Sheriff Livingston’s full statement

File photo

Today I am announcing that I am ending the contract with ICE to hold detainees at our dormitory buildings on our Richmond jail facility. I recently notified ICE of this decision and asked them to begin the process of removing their detainees in a safe and orderly manner. The contract requires 120-day notice and they have told me they will try to resolve as many open-ended immigration cases as they can during this period of transition.

To be clear, the Sheriff’s Office does not do immigration enforcement. In fact, our policy prohibits it. These detainees are not arrested for immigration violations by us or any other law enforcement organization or agency in the county. They were instead persons ICE brought to us under the terms of the contract from all over Northern California and beyond.

There is not one single over riding issue that causes the termination of this contract. Instead there are many. And I am not here to comment on ICE’s enforcement policies or any of their federal partners’ policies. Instead I want to explain the reasons why we are cancelling the contract.

First, we have held an average of about 200 adult detainees a day. And that has generated about $2.5 – 3 million dollars in annual revenue. That revenue varies year to year. Losing it would likely result in the lay-off of Deputy Sheriffs and that was something I was unwilling to do. Instead, working closely with the Chair and Vice-Chair of the Board, and ultimately with the full board, we have found a solution that will backfill the expected budget deficit going forward including the use of state funds to minimize the impact on local taxpayers.

Second, the number of detainees constantly fluctuates. We cannot rely on budget projections and ICE could always decide to move their detainees to another facility.
Third, county employee and operating costs have risen over the years, But the reimbursement rate has not. Long term the contract is just not sustainable.

Finally, the outstanding work by the over 1,000 employees of the Office of the Sheriff have been overshadowed by the attention that the ICE contract brings, even though immigration is a matter of federal law. Managing protests in Richmond have become expensive and time-consuming for our staff.

And to be very fair, one must acknowledge a growing chorus of community groups and individuals from both within and outside the county, that have focused on undocumented immigrants’ issues. And they raise important concerns.

Obviously, this action today does not address the larger and more complex issue of federal immigration enforcement. Most of us have compassion for those to come here seeking a better life but we are a nation of laws. And to be sure, those who come here undocumented who commit new crimes while here will be arrested and processed into our jails as they are currently. That will not change.

My number one priority remains and will continue to be keeping Contra Costa County safe.

In response, while at the Press Conference, Contra Costa County Board of Supervisor John Gioia said it was an historic day in Contra Costa County calling the move an important positive step in building trust with thehard working immigrant families in Contra Costa.

“I appreciate Sheriff Livingston for making this decision. I know that thousands of Contra Costa residents also thank sheriff Livingston for this actions. To the thousands of residents who advocated for an end to the detention of immigrants at the west county jail, thank you. Thank you for your consistent and loud advocacy. Your actions do make a difference

Gioia said the decision to end of the contract was based on a number of reasons, including the community voice as being one of the factors.

“I have publicly called for ending the ICE contract for over a year. I believe just like thousands of our residents that having a Federal contract to house ICE detainees erodes the trust between local government and local law enforcement and our immigrant communities. Ending the contract is a critical step in rebuilding this trust.”

Congressman Mark DeSaulnier released the following statement.

“Having called for the termination of the contract, I support the Board of Supervisors’ decision and look forward to working with them on making sure the concerns of the community and clients are addressed,” said Congressman DeSaulnier.

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11 COMMENTS

  1. There should be no detainees! These people should be deported IMMEDIATELY to their countries of origin. We should not be spending one thin dime of our tax dollars on housing and feeding these invaders! We have enough of our own people to take care of.

    • Why dont you go back to your country then too? Im willing to bet your grandparents or parents immigrated here. I rather pay for immigrants that want to come here and work hard, rather then pay for all these lazy fuks on section 8 and EBT.

      • I am in my OWN country! My ancestors immigrated here probably 10,000 years ago and after the Spaniards got here and set up MISSIONS, they intermarried with those Spaniards! I’d rather our own people did the hard work and earned a living, not invaders! Soon, we will have robots doing jobs like picking produce! There will be fewer and fewer jobs available for people to perform thanks to TECHNOLOGY and AUTOMATION! We need FEWER people here . . . even now.

        • Man will always be needed , robots can only do so much. I like how you didnt comment on “your” people sucking the life blood out of this Country on section 8 and EBT. You skipped right over that part, typical tho.

          • None of my people were ever on any Section 8 loser programs or EBT. So, what’s YOUR problem?

    • I totally agree! We should not house these people — who are NOT immigrants in any sense of the term — here! They should be immediately returned to Mexico or any of the Central American countries they hail from.

  2. @. The difference is most immigrants came in through the regular legal process. They were required to learn English, know standard laws, etc. The immigrants that you are speaking of are criminals who cut in front of others, pay no attention to rules, most don’t speak English, and they disobey laws. Those people need to be deported now as they started their immigration as you say by breaking the law. No excuses.

    Evidently the far left pity people do not understand that respectable immigrants have been bumped in line by illegals. Deport them now as they violated the law.

    • First off dikhead, why are you assuming that Im “left” ? You are generalizing me, just because I dont agree with anti-immigration as a general blanket. Youre also assuming and saying that all people that immigrate here illegally are bad people and trouble makers, thats just comical. You just know what is spoonfed to you daily, you dont know about true everyday people that work yard to support their families. So, your ok with all the lazy ” americans” that milk section 8 and EBT? Thats ok tho right, because they are ” american”. Its these same ” americans” that find ways to exploit their own government every single day and CHOOSE to be lazt freeloading fuks.

      By the way, you must not ever eat fruits, vegetables, eat meats or drink wine, who the fuk do you think works these hard jobs? The US needs illigal immigrants, otherwise the entire economy will stop, if you think otherwise then you dont know shit about how business works. You think all these lazy fuks that live around here are going to do these jobs? LOL, they dont even wake up before 11 am, and you expect them in a field at 4 am? Good luck with that, but keeping drinking your koolaid dumbass.

      • Very good points ! One thing though, they wake up early so they can watch “Fox and Friends”, drink some beer, NOT seek employment/school and go back to bed — work ??? They wake up and say to their other toothless moron friends, “Those labor jobs are so beneath me …. only illegal messicans that talk Spanish get them jobs. I’m gonna get my free money from the government, and get my girl (this week) pregnant so we can get more money”.

      • We don’t need any illegal “immigrants” who are not that at all. They are invaders and should be seized and returned to their country of origin immediately.

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