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A Bit of Good News: A CA Sheriff Terminates Contract with ICE to Hold Detainees.

3 min read

Contra Costa County, across the Bay and northeast from San Francisco, will not longer be keeping ICE detainees in its jail facilities.  In particular, the West County jail, in Richmond, CA has been a holding facility for ICE detainees and for the past several weeks has been the scene of numerous protests outside of the facility.

Livingston said protests and public pressure did play a role in the decision to cancel the contract.


County Supervisor John Gioia, in whose district the West County jail is situated, put out this press release, and his Chief of Staff informed me that the contract termination will be effective 90 days from yesterday (but it may actually be 120 days).



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The following is a transcript of Supervisor Gioia’s statement at today’s press conference:

This is an historic day in Contra Costa County.
Sheriff Livingston’s decision to cancel his Federal contract to hold ICE detainees at the West County Detention Facility is an important and positive step to build greater trust with our hard working immigrant families here in Contra Costa.
I appreciate and thank Sheriff Livingston for making this decision.
I know that thousands of Contra Costa residents countywide also thank Sheriff Livingston for this action.
To the thousands of our county’s residents who have passionately advocated for an end to the detention of immigrants at the West County Jail, thank you.
Thank you for your consistent and loud advocacy. Your actions do make a difference.
The Sheriff’s decision was based on a number of factors. Your voices were one of those factors.
I thank Sheriff Livingston for listening to the opinion of the large number of sincere and passionate residents who believe that our County should not use our local jail to house ICE detainees.
I have publicly called for ending the ICE contract for over a year.
I believe, just like thousands of our residents, that having a Federal contract to house ICE detainees erodes the trust between local government and local law enforcement and our immigrant communities.
Ending the contract is a critical step in rebuilding this trust.
As we wind down the ICE contract, we want to make sure there is a just closure process.
Over the years of the ICE contract, the Sheriff has allowed attorneys to come into the West County Detention Facility to provide legal representation to ICE detainees.
I have spoken to the Sheriff and I appreciate that he is committed to maintaining this access as the contract winds down, and expanding access to those not currently represented by legal counsel.
This is important to insure that as many detainees as possible are afforded the opportunity for legal representation.
Earlier this year we launched Stand Together Contra Costa – a program that provides rapid response and immigration legal services for families at risk of deportation.
If anyone knows someone who is being detained and may need legal help, please call our Stand Together Contra Costa Hotline at 925-900-5151. They stand ready to help.
Contra Costa is a county that welcomes and supports our immigrant families – who make up 25% of our residents.
We want to keep our families together.
We want our immigrants treated with fairness and compassion.
Today’s action by the Sheriff is immensely important to this goal.

The City of Richmond, CA, located in Contra Costa County, recently enacted an ordinance prohibiting future contracts with companies that provide ‘data broker’ and ‘extreme vetting’ services to ICE.

It’s time for private entities like Amazon and Salesforce to take similar actions and also END THEIR CONTRACTS WITH ICE.

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