Activists call for Sacramento jail to stop housing ICE detainees

Sacramento activists plan on targeting Sheriff Scott Jones with a protest Wednesday night over the department's contract with federal authorities to hold immigration detainees in a local jail.

The action comes the night before U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions is set to deliver a "major" announcement about sanctuary jurisdictions while speaking at a law enforcement gathering in Sacramento. Sessions isn't giving details on what the announcement will be.

Carlos Montes-Ponce of Sacramento Area Congregations Together said the Wednesday event was meant to refocus the national immigration debate on local issues.

"It's just really (about) calling an end to this ICE contract and reminding people that there is something we can do here locally," said Montes-Ponce. "It's not morally right for the county to be accepting six or seven million into the budget through the housing of individuals ... who can't really even post bond."

The Sacramento County Sheriff's Department has a contract with U.S. Customs and Immigration to house immigration detainees in its Rio Consumnes Correctional Facility near Elk Grove. The contract started in 2013 and runs through June 30, 2018 – providing about $6 million in revenue each year for a total of $30 million over the term of the agreement, according to the contract.

That translates to about 60,000 "bed days" over the five years, or up to about 170 detaineesat a time.

The contract has raised controversy before. Last year, the county was sued when an immigration detainee there became quadriplegic after an attempted suicide by jumping off a second-story balcony.

A federal lawsuit in 2016 also forced the facility and three others with government contracts to provide better telephone access for immigrant detainees.

Montes-Ponce said activists also planned on a rally downtown Sacramento on Wednesday while Sessions is speaking.

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