The Mesa County Jail is running out of space. "In the last few months our population has crept over our bed capacity," says Heather Benjamin with the Mesa County Sheriff's Office.
Officials are now adding bunk beds and housing some inmates in the gym and they've stopped holding suspected illegals for Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE.
Benjamin says, "as a courtesy we had the space we were happy to use it happy to work with them, we need that space back now and they have been notified." The jail will now only hold illegals that have committed a crime, no longer accepting those just waiting for deportation. ICE officials say using the jail is a convenience they will now have to live without.
"We would look for other jail facilities in order to hold any aliens that we would encounter or that would be encountered on the highway," says ICE spokesman Carl Rusnok.
The Mesa County Jail will now lose out on the money ICE pays it for temporarily housing illegals. Something it says they won't even miss.
"The money portion we get for these ICE holds are very insignificant in the whole scheme of things," says Benjamin.
And despite the jail retracting the invitation for ICE to use their facility, relations remain strong. Rusnok,says, "the common goal for all law enforcement is to combat crime."
Officials with the Sheriff's Office say if space in the jail frees up they'll help ICE again in the future.
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