APRIL 23, 2014
Sheriff Arpaio sends letter to I.C.E. officials in Washington, D.C.
PHOENIX – Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio has stepped into the escalating dispute over the cost of housing migrant detainees between Pinal County, Arizona officials and the federal office of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) with a solution.
Pinal County claims its cost to house detainees since 2006 has been more than $12 million. Unless the federal government agrees to renegotiate the contract and increase the inmate per diem rate from $60 to $90, Pinal County threatens to terminate the agreement with ICE. ICE will then be forced to find another detention facility.
In a letter sent April 17, 2014 to Thomas Homan, Executive Associate Director in Charge of Enforcement and Removal Operations in Washington D.C., Arpaio says the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office already has in place an existing contract to house any federal detainee at a rate of $70 per day – significantly lower than the near $90 per day which Pinal County now needs to house each detainee. (Click on image to read letter)
Arpaio says his Durango Jail is newly remodeled, equipped with cutting-edge video visitation and able to accommodate 460 migrant detainees – well over the 356 migrant detainees currently housed in Pinal County. Arpaio says his jails currently house 925 illegal immigrants.
Sheriff Arpaio’s letter addresses every issue raised by both sides, and explains how they can be handled in his jails.
ACLU officials complain that detainees must have access to outside recreation and contact visits which the Durango jail provides. And the cost reduction that the federal government seeks is already set in stone in the current contract to house federal inmates.
Arpaio says the letter makes it abundantly clear that he would welcome the move to accept the housing responsibility of these migrant detainees.