JEROME, Idaho (AP) - Protesters in south-central Idaho say a pending contract that would allow federal authorities to use a local jail as an immigration detention facility will spread fear throughout the region's Hispanic population.
The Times-News reports that Jerome County officials are considering leasing 50 beds at its jail to the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. The contract could lead to an extra $1.37 million in revenue for the county. However, some community members argue having ICE agents around will lead to higher arrest rates and negatively impact the Hispanic community.
County commissioners listened to these fears during an hour-long public hearing on Monday. Commissioner Charlie Howell says the contract is still being drafted and expects to see a copy soon.
ICE spokeswoman Virginia Kice declined to answer questions about the contract, but said that it's important for ICE to have enough detention space.
Jerome County has the second-highest Hispanic community in Idaho.