California County to Shut Down Immigration Detention Facilities

Orange County bows to intense pressure from the ICE-hating state.

Under assault by California’s grotesquely unconstitutional so-called sanctuary state laws, the Orange County sheriff’s department announced March 27 that it will cancel its agreement with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement to provide immigration detention facilities.

Although hosting ICE detainees can be a profit center for some cash-strapped local governments, leftists across America are hellbent on shutting down prison facilities, especially those that are privately owned or administered. Private and privately-run prisons consistently outperform those that governments maintain.

Attacking government-funded but privately-owned immigration detention facilities marries various factions of the Left in a common subversive enterprise.

Open-borders fanatics get to strike a blow for immigration anarchy and promote the breakdown of law and order. Anti-incarceration activists like those in the violent, cop-hating Black Lives Matter movement get the satisfaction of unleashing lawbreakers on society. And labor leaders get new union members as government facilities have to be expanded to pick up the slack.

The OC sheriff has been leasing bed spaces to ICE since 2010 but the contract with the feds lapses in July 2020, The Epoch Times reports. The contract contains an early termination provision and Sheriff Don Barnes, a Republican serving in the officially nonpartisan post, has invoked it which means when the contract runs out ICE will have to relocate its detainees within 120 days, in this case, to facilities outside California.

“I want to make clear that the decision to end the ICE agreement is not a result of the recent political rhetoric surrounding immigration,” Barnes said. “Our nine-year leasing agreement has been mutually beneficial and a benefit to Orange County taxpayers.”

“Ending the contract early is necessary to ensure that we are utilizing our resources to meet our local responsibilities,” Barnes said. The space occupied by immigration detainees is needed to house mental patients, he said.

“Since 2015, we have seen a 40 percent increase in open mental health cases in our jails. The number of mental health cases now exceed 1,800 on any given day.”

But Barnes admitted his state’s anti-ICE hysteria forced him to act.

The decision to give ICE the boot is “intended to mitigate the risk of litigation from the state while at the same time minimize costs to Orange County taxpayers,” Barnes said.

“Unfortunately, based on statutory language within SB 54, those individuals we house on behalf of ICE will mostly likely be transferred out of California, separating them from their family members who reside within the state.”

The Trump administration is suing California over the three state statutes that turned the state into a sanctuary for illegal aliens as of Jan. 1, 2018.

The federal lawsuit seeks to strike down AB 450, which prohibits private employers from voluntarily cooperating with federal immigration officials—including officials conducting worksite enforcement efforts. It attacks SB 54, which prevents state and local law enforcement officials from providing information to the feds about the release date of deportable criminal aliens in their custody. The suit also places a bullseye on AB 103, which imposes a state-run inspection and review scheme of the federal detention of aliens held in facilities pursuant to federal contracts.

The Trump administration launched a crackdown on sanctuary cities days after the president was inaugurated. Trump issued Executive Order 13768 on Jan. 25, 2017, to withhold federal monies from sanctuary jurisdictions but it was permanently enjoined nationwide on Nov. 20, 2017, by U.S. District Court Judge William Orrick III, an Obama appointee based in –you guessed it— San Francisco. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld Orrick’s ruling in an Aug. 1, 2018, decision.

The administration also stepped up immigration enforcement in California last year after new the sanctuary-state laws calculated to frustrate federal law enforcement took effect.

The push to shut down the nation’s privately run or contracted immigration detention centers gained momentum in the Obama era. Left-wing activists applied pressure to the Obama administration to close privately administered immigration jails even though ICE said in 2016 that doing so would require an 800 percent increase in ICE’s detention capacity because a large percentage of immigration detainees are housed in private centers.

California’s ICE-hating sickness has spread to New Mexico.

A bill pending in the New Mexico legislature would turn that state into a sanctuary state by restricting U.S. government contracts for immigration detention centers there.

Democrat state Rep. Angelica Rubio borrowed some creepy language from black militant Ta-Nehisi Coates when she accused immigration detention facilities in New Mexico of “profiting off people and their bodies.”

She claimed the bill would “provide some accountability and some oversight when it comes to the issue of immigration detention facilities,” even though handing over such private facilities to the state government would, as any economist or student of government can tell you, actually reduce accountability and oversight.

And as the 2020 presidential campaign, which, astonishingly enough, has already begun, heats up, California’s anti-law enforcement pathology will begin to work its way across the country.


Photo courtesy U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement/UPI.