On Tuesday, July 10, Contra Costa County Sheriff David Livingston announced that he’s ending the West County Detention Facility contract with ICE.
While some warn of unfavorable consequences, the decision by Sheriff Livingston is generally celebrated as an historic victory in Contra Costa County on behalf of human rights and protections.
At an afternoon news conference in Martinez, Sheriff Livingston stated:
“Today I am announcing we are ending the contract with ICE. 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 perceived downside to the Contra Costa Detention Facility no longer contracting with ICE is that its current 169 ICE detainees, some of whom are local Contra Costa County residents with families in the area, will now be sent to facilities at other U.S. localities. Terminating the contract with ICE also means the County will lose $3 million in revenue.
However in the sanctuary State of California, the fact that county law enforcement will no longer be engaged in an agreement with ICE to house ICE detainees, is seen by many as a humanitarian victory.
One official who applauds termination of the Contra Costa County Sheriff’s Department’s contract with ICE is Contra Costa County Supervisor, John Gioia, who stated:
“This is an historic day in Contra Costa County. To the thousands of county residents who have passionately advocated for the end to the detention of immigrants at the West County Jail, thank you.”
Richmond Vice-Mayor, who has been active in the protests, asserted:
“It’s a victory in the sense that these contracts are going to end. But a justifiable closure is making sure that the families, the folks that are being detained by ICE aren’t just going to be transferred somewhere else like Arizona or Colorado.”
The cancellation of the County Sheriff’s contract with ICE was issued in an atmosphere of increased pressure from community groups, residents and elected officials to end County law enforcement’s agreement with ICE.
A new law that became effective in January, the California Values Act, bars local law enforcement agencies from cooperating and communicating with ICE.
Find more on the Contra Costa Sheriff ending the detention contract with ICE at ABC 7 News: Contra Costa Co. Sheriff cancels jail contract with ICE and EAST BAY TIMES: Contra Costa sheriff to announce end of ICE contract, sources say, the source of this information.