Government Suspends Jail's Agreement To Detain Illegal Aliens

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All ICE detainees have been removed from the Mesa County Jail after a federal contract is suspended.

In an e-mail to 11 News, ICE Spokesman Carl Rusnok said the agency temporarily moved ICE detainees out of the Mesa County Jail until adequate housing is available for them at the facility. Rusnok also said that ICE currently has an active Inter-governmental Service Agreement (IGSA) with Mesa County Jail to house ICE detainees for up to 72 hours. ICE usually houses between five and 12 ICE detainees at the facility and is required to maintain its strict detention standards.

A local state representative says he's angry and the Sheriff's Office says they're confused.

Under the suspension, the Mesa County Jail will only be able to hold illegal immigrants that have committed a crime.

Representative Steve King says this is just another hurdle for local law enforcement when it comes to detaining illegals.

The suspension of the agreement comes just one day after Rep. King and 32 other law makers sent a letter to President Bush urging to do something about the federal governments policies. The letter says there's jail space available to hold illegal immigrants if the federal government would just let them.

The Sheriff's Office says they don't know why the facility is standard to hold criminals who check themselves in for the weekend but unacceptable to hold illegal aliens.

No word yet on when the Sheriff's Office will be able to detain illegals again.