The Graham County Sheriff’s department is continuing to honor its contract with the U.S. Marshals Service even though problems with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement continue to persist.
The GCSO has an agreement with the U.S. Marshals Service to hold people on immigration-related charges until ICE agents transport them to federal detention facilities.
In March, ICE ordered Sheriff P.J. Allred to release three detainees, but declined to pick them up.
A spokeswoman stated Homeland Security had shifted its focus to threats on national security, border security and public safety.
Not wanting to just let them “loose in the community,” Allred said the department spent between $35 and $50 to help each of them with transportation.
Undersheriff Jeff McCormies said one or two more men have been ordered released by ICE and agents did not pick them up either.
Allred initially said he was considering ending the contract with the U.S. Marshals, but has since changed his mind.
Since the agreement with the Marshals Service stipulates that the county will receive $53 dollars a day per inmate and it helps pay the jail’s operating expenses, the department will continue on with the agreement, Allred said.
On average, the jail houses about 15 inmates on immigration charges per day and they usually stay multiple days, he said.
“We’re not making a ton of money,” Allred said, “but it adds up and helps us not take money out of the general fund.”
If the agreement with the Marshals Service did end for some reason, Allred said the money lost wouldn’t be devastating to the detention facilities’ operating budget, but they would have to have conversations with the county about how to fill that gap in the budget.
“We’d have to cross that bridge when we came to it, and hopefully we don’t have to come to it,” Allred said, “We just decided to continue on for now.”