Nearly a year after being proposed, a contract between Jerome County and the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency to rent out beds in the county’s jail still hasn’t materialized. A report by ICE last January called Jerome County an ideal place to lease space to house detainees the agency didn't have room for in Utah.
The initial report from ICE proposed starting with 50 beds in the Jerome County Jail but said that figure could rise in the future.
The Times News reports a contract was expected back in September. Jerome County Sheriff Doug McFall says he kept being told by ICE a contract was coming and that things were in place to move forward with the deal.
The prospect of having an elevated presence of the federal agency in Jerome County has sparked a backlash. Some who oppose the contract have been meeting almost weekly since July to strategize how best to fight the possible agreement. Civil rights groups and some in the dairy industry say a heavy ICE presence in the agricultural region could lead to a culture of fear among the Latino population and be detrimental to the local economy. Opponents to the ICE contract say Jerome County should lease the beds to the state to help ease prison overcrowding.
When a contract from ICE is finally prepared, it will go to the Jerome County Board of Commissioners for a vote.
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