- Josh Sweigart Staff Writer
New federal policies meant to step up and speed up deportation of illegal immigrants from the U.S. come as 103 people sit in custody of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement at the Butler County jail, an I-Team analysis of jail data found.
Butler County has a special contract with ICE in which the feds paid nearly $1.4 million for housing and $29,982 for transporting ICE detainees from across the country last year.
Three ICE inmates have been there since 2015.
Montgomery County officials denied a public records request for a list of inmates on ICE detainers there, saying they were unable to produce such a list.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security issued a pair of directives Tuesday on how it will carry out President Donald Trump’s pledge to increase enforcement of America’s immigration laws. They included prioritizing enforcement for anyone here illegally who is suspected or charged of any crime, as opposed to the former policy of focusing on serious crimes or national security threats.
The order brings back a program that allows local law enforcement to help federal agents enforce immigration laws, a program Butler County Sheriff Richard K. Jones emphatically participated in.
The new directives also begins plans for a wall at the Mexican border and calls for the hiring of 5,000 new border agents and 10,000 ICE agents.
Part of the memo that may affect those inmates at the Butler County jail would allow federal officials to deport people caught crossing the southern border back to Mexico while awaiting deportation proceedings, regardless of what country they are from.
A Somali and a Syrian are among the inmates at the Butler County jail picked up crossing the border from Mexico, a recent I-Team analysis found.
I-TEAM SPECIAL REPORT: Uncertain fate for local refugees
Local jail records don’t say whether someone is in ICE custody at the Butler County jail for immigration violations – possibly seeking asylum — or some other offense, and immigration court records are not public.
But they do list what country the people are from, and only 27 are from Mexico.
Here are the countries two or more inmates are from:
El Salvador: 4
Costa Rica: 2
Other recent I-Team stories: