RICHMOND, Calif. (KGO) -- It's being hailed by some as an historic day in Contra Costa County, while others are warning of unintended consequences. Sheriff David Livingston announced Tuesday that his department is canceling its contract with ICE at the Richmond jail.
"Today I am announcing we are ending the contract with ICE," said Livingston at an afternoon press conference in Martinez. "I recently notified ICE of this decision and asked them to begin the process of removing their detainees in a safe and orderly manner."
The West County facility currently houses 169 ICE detainees, part of a longstanding agreement that netted the county up to $3 million per year.
"This is an historic day in Contra Costa County," said Contra Costa County Supervisor John Gioia. "To the thousands of county residents who have passionately advocated for the end to the detention of immigrants at the West County jail, thank you."
Over the past several weeks, demonstrators have held loud protests in front of the West County facility.
"It's a victory in the sense that these contracts are going to end," said Richmond Vice-Mayor Melvin Willis, who has also been active in the protests. "But a justifiable closure is making sure that the families, the folks that are being detained by ICE aren't just going to be transferred somewhere else like Arizona or Colorado."
That's exactly why county supervisor Karen Mitchoff opposes canceling the ICE contract, primarily out of concern about where current and future Bay Area detainees might be sent. "I'm sorry to be losing the contract," explained Mitchoff.
"Unfortunately, with the closure of this facility, those individuals that ICE is not able to release through the normal process will be sent to other places throughout the United States."
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