Hundreds of protesters filled the Jerome County Courthouse yesterday and spilled outside to speak out against a plan to rent space in the new county jail to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE. County commissioners held a hearing on the proposal; just two people spoke in favor of it, and 18 spoke against it. The protesters said the move would sow fear in the county’s Hispanic community, which comprises 35 percent of the population, and lead to more arrests of undocumented workers. According to the Twin Falls Times-News, Araceli Garcia told the commissioners her husband works 12-hour shifts at a local dairy. “We work, we pay rent, and tell me, if you guys do the contract with ICE … who’s going to work in the dairies?” she asked.
A local farm owner spoke out against the contract, saying he thought it would hurt area agriculture.
Sheriff Doug McFall said in June that the county was talking with ICE about possibly leasing 50 jail beds at $75 per day, which could bring in up to $1.37 million a year, wrote Times-News reporter Nathan Brown. You can read his full report here.