Arpaio Makes Play For Pinal County's Disputed ICE Contract

April 21, 2014

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement contracts with Pinal County to hold hundreds of immigrants in its jail in civil custody as they are going through deportation proceedings.

But the County says it’s losing millions of dollars on the deal. It’s asking now for almost $90 a night per detainee, up from the current rate of $60.

On Monday, Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio wrote to ICE, offering his jail as an alternative. He’s undercutting Pinal County's requst by asking only $70 a night. But not everyone wants to see MCSO take over this contract.

“We’ve seen over and over again that MCSO has a record of violating constitutional rights,” said Victoria Lopez of the ACLU of Arizona.

Lopez said there have been a number of recent clashes between the federal government and MCSO, including the Department of Justice’s pending lawsuit against MCSO alleging discrimination against Latinos in its policing practices and in its jails.

“And so why would ICE even engage with MCSO over taking over a long-term detention contract?” Lopez asked.

Meanwhile there are questions as to why Arpaio is offering such a low price, since the average price ICE pays for a detention bed is $119 a night.