JOSEPHINE COUNTY, Ore.- Federal pressure to crack down on immigration enforcement has helped balance Josephine County's budget for years.
To date, the county relies on its federal contract with ICE to balance its budget. Budget documents show this year Josephine County is expecting to make around $35,000 to house ICE detainees. The jail commander says last year the county made $19,000 from its contract.
As a sanctuary state, local law enforcement is supposed to be limited in the amount help it can provide to immigration officials. Josephine County's Legal Counsel Wally Hicks says the county is not breaking federal law by housing federal detainees. Hicks says it's because the county has a contract with the federal government and ICE is the agency responsible for the detainees.
Essentially the Josephine County Jail serves as a motel, temporarily housing and feeding ICE inmates. Hicks says holding immigration detainees is not an illegal use of local money or manpower.
The contract with ICE has helped Josephine County staff the jail in 2014. Budget documents show ICE paid the county almost $400,000 to house detainees which was almost 20% of the jail's revenue.
Lt. Vincent with Josephine County Jail said in a statement, "After the major lawsuit filed in Portland in 2014 jails all over Oregon started reducing their contracts with ICE. They did have a large amount of detainees prior to that however the cost to manage them was not worth the time or liability. The 400K basically allowed the office to maintain the staff in the jail in order to manage the large population of detainees."
Housing ICE detainees is still a part of the jail's revenue.
Take a look at the county's budget here.
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