The federal government is ending its contract to house detainees in the Santa Ana jail.
The city had announced last year its intention to terminate the contract by 2020, but was notified Thursday that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, part of the Department of Homeland Security, will terminate its Intergovernmental Service Agreement with Santa Ana in 90 days.
“Accordingly, city staff has been actively working to identify options, as directed by the city council, while mitigating any adverse impacts to the community and to any affected city employees,” according to a city statement.
“Following the Dec. 6, 2016 city council meeting, the city reduced the maximum capacity of ICE detainees at the jail facility, as well as issued a request for qualifications for a jail re-use study.”
Mayor Pro Tem Michele Martinez said the city “has been committed to the termination of the ICE contract,” which pays Santa Ana about $340,000 monthly.
Ninety-six full-time and 20 part-time employees help operate the jail, according to the city.
“U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement values its longstanding relationship with the city of Santa Ana, but recent actions by the city to drastically curtail the number of beds available at the city’s jail to house immigration detainees meant the existing detention contract was no longer viable or cost effective,” according to a statement ICE spokeswoman Virginia Kice made to The Orange County Register.
Kice told The Register the jail currently houses 74 ICE detainees.
The termination of the contract comes as the ICE steps up efforts to locate and deport people in the U.S. illegally, a major part of President Donald Trump’s policy agenda.
—City News Service