SACRAMENTO COUNTY (CBS13) — Undocumented immigrants will no longer be housed in Sacramento County.
In a narrow vote Tuesday night, the Sacramento County Board of Supervisors canceled a contract with the Department of Homeland Security and Immigration and Customs Enforcement to detain immigrants inside a correctional facility as they await deportation.
The contract provided millions of federal dollars to the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department each year.
In a 3-2 vote, supervisors chose not to renew the county’s contract with ICE, that since 2013, has housed federal detainees inside the Rio Cosumnes Correctional Center just outside Elk Grove.
Supervisors Phil Serna, Patrick Kennedy, and Don Nottoli voted in favor of the motion.
“Our budgets are reflective of our values,” said Serna.
Elizabeth Kim, president of the National Lawyers Guild of Sacramento, helped push for the change after she says a federal audit in 2015 found undocumented immigrants were being treated inhumanely.
“We’re hoping that Sacramento sets the trend for this region and that we can move towards adopting better policies for these detainees,” said Kim.
District 4 Supervisor Sue Frost voted against canceling the contract which provides more than $6 million a year to the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department to help run the jail.
Frost said, “We’ll have to look into our discretionary funds and into our other programs to see what we have to cut to figure out how we’re going to pay for that.”
Most of the detainees are from Northern California who Frost says will now likely be moved to a different detention facility out of state and away from family and friends.
“It’s completely symbolic in nature. It doesn’t solve any part of the problem at all.”
Currently, the county is housing 82 undocumented immigrants, most of whom have a previous criminal history. Sacramento Sheriff Scott Jones, who’s been at odds with Sacramento’s immigration policies before, sent CBS13 a statement saying in part “…I certainly respect the board’s decision and will ensure a smooth facilitation of the ICE population out of our facility as the contract draws to a close.”
The sheriff’s department says the detainees will have to be out of the facility by June 30th. It’s unclear where they will go. CBS13 did reach out to ICE officials for more information but did not hear back in time for the story.