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ICE: End of Springfield jail contract bad for public safety

After a public outcry, the city council voted unanimously to end the contract Monday.

Posted: Jun. 27, 2018 10:41 AM

SPRINGFIELD, Ore. -- A spokesperson for Immigration Customs says the end of the contract with the Springfield Municipal Jail will negatively impact public safety.

Starting in 2012, the Springfield jail had a contract with ICE to hold detainees for up to 72 hours. After a public outcry, the city council voted unanimously to end the contract Monday.

KEZI 9 News reached out to ICE to find out what the loss of the jail means for them.

“ICE does not have a facility in Oregon to replace the existing contract with the Springfield Jail,” the spokesperson said in an email Wednesday. “The jail served as a waypoint when transferring individuals from Oregon to the Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma, Washington. As a result, ICE must dedicate more resources to transportation efforts, which steers resources away from apprehending at-large criminal aliens, negatively impacting public safety.”

Chief Richard Lewis of the Springfield Police Department said that they did not have to give ICE a 30-day notice to end the contract, and when the council’s decision came down, there weren’t any ICE detainees at the jail, so no last-minute transfers were needed.

Chief Lewis said he wants undocumented immigrants living in his community to know his officers are looking out for them and will not ask for their immigration status.

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