Santa Ana Officials Seek to Make Even More Money Off Immigrant Detainees in City Jail Contract with ICE

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JoEse Gloria
Getting the protest signs ready
The Orange County May Day Coalition (OCMDC) is all set and ready to go for its annual march in SanTana. Marking International Workers' Day, the downtown demonstration starting at 2 p.m. in Sasscer Park kicks off a political campaign with a familiar goal--ending the city's collaboration and contract with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). There's only one problem for activists revving up to continue last year's fight. According to documents obtained by the Weekly, city officials are looking to increase the amount of money they make off granting bed space for ICE detentions at Santa Ana City Jail to cover deficits.

Last year, activists publicized an 'inter-governmental service agreement' signed in 2006 between the city and migra. The terms allowed immigrant detainees to be housed at the local jail at a per diem rate of $82. OC May Day Coalition members mobilized around the issue calling on the Santa Ana city council to kill the contract. They were countered with a fiscal argument noting the facility ran million dollar deficits over the years.

A report on retooling options for jail operations promised to come in August of last year. Jail Administrator Ann Matulin's delivered an "options analysis" in September to then-city manager Kevin O'Rourke and Police Chief Carlos Rojas in which they projected "deficits of over $9.2 and $9.9 million" for the current and next fiscal period.

"It is a commonly held perception among the City's human rights advocacy groups that inmates are mistreated in facilities operated by private firms," the report claimed. "If the decision is made to outsource jail services. consideration of community concerns will have to be addressed." City staff met with representatives of firms like the Geo Group and Corrections Corporation of America. They decided on writing up a formal request for proposals.

The memo comes as news to activists. "With the May Day Coalition, we've been asking for the jail profitability report for almost a year now and they've haven't given it to us, says Lupita Cisneros. "There really isn't community input."

A follow up memo in mid-December approached the issue of ICE and the city jail more directly. Dave Cavazos, the new city manager, informed Mayor Miguel Pulido and the city council that in 2013, ICE inmates comprised 41% of those detained at the 460-bed facility. He proposed negotiating increased per diem rates "to ensure cost recovery" and restructuring practices for money saving in the long-term. Privatization plans don't appear in the memo, but cutting jail personnel costs is deemed essential.

In the meantime, the city seeks to make more money off inmates. "In order to recover the net cost to the City of $18.5 million, the per diem inmate charge would need to increase to $110," wrote Cavazos. The suggestion applied to both ICE and U.S. Marshall prisoner contracts.

Such bullishness on getting undocumented folks in city jail comes as the TRUST Act became law in California at the start of the new year. It compels local law enforcement agencies like the Santa Ana Police Department to ignore ICE detainer requests for arrested undocumented immigrants for protected low-level offenses. "Detainers are only honored if [AB4] stipulations are met," Matulin says. "The ICE contract isn't connected to local detainer activities," she adds. No statistics could be given on how many requests so far this year have translated into city jail detentions.

Budgeting the bottom line on the backs of broken families strikes the OC May Coalition as shameful. "It's sad because most of the people in Santa Ana either know someone who is undocumented or are themselves undocumented," Cisneros says. The Anaheim resident is President of the Fullerton DREAM Team and comes from a mixed-status family herself. "They're supposed to be represented too. City officials don't take them into account."

Since the December memo, Cavazos and Rojas traveled to Washington D.C. to meet with ICE officials and are requesting a per diem increase. After the May Day demonstration, activists will be sounding the call inside council chambers to end, not mend the ICE contract.

"We're going to go to city council on Tuesday following the march," Cisneros says, "and introduce the campaign letting them know what we want!"

Follow Gabriel San Román on Twitter @dpalabraz

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21 comments
cynthia.curran8
cynthia.curran8

Hispanic Growth in Orange County is slowing both Santa Ana and Anaheim grew only .5 according to Calif stats both grew less than 2,000 people from 2013 to 2014. In fact the heyday years for Santa Ana was the 1980's, 90,000 when whites left it and for Anaheim 60,000 in the 1990's. Hispanics will gain because the younger population is more so but this is kind of good news since if Mexicans and Central Americans are coming less to Orange County and Mexicans that are moving into the middle class leave Santa Ana and Anaheim it changes people

s ideas but it doesn't happen overnite. Irvine is showing a new trend in the County it appeals more to Asians and Middle Easterners. The city grew 4.9 percent and gain 11,000, the fourth highest gain in population gain in the state. Also, the fastest growing area of California is the Bay area which appeals more to Asians and has a slight gain with out of staters. Irvine like Santa Ana in the 1980's and Anaheim in the 1990's might should a new trend in California in the long term.

robincook
robincook

The city has a fiduciary duty to maximize income from city assets.

Mitchell_Young
Mitchell_Young topcommenter

Serious questions: you people are always against development, new roads, etc. Where are all these people, and no doubt the tens of millions of more that will come (illegally)  if amnesty passes. Or sure, they will crowd into already urbanized areas, but that just forces the people living their already to move to new development to maintain a decent standard of living.


Likewise, how can you be for decent wages, and support the importation of low wage earners who are quite willing to undercut the most vulnerable of American workers?

armandocdll81
armandocdll81

You see - illegal aliens ARE job creators. Si se puede!

Brainwashed_in_church
Brainwashed_in_church topcommenter

""We're going to go to city council on Tuesday following the march," Cisneros says, "and introduce the campaign letting them know what we want!""

Tell you what, you write the first check to house the "undocumented immigrants" (makes it sound like their status is simply due to a clerical error) and we''l start talking. Until then, let's let the feds reimburse the locals.

meheecan-cris-doner
meheecan-cris-doner

hey pendejo, stop blaming the ”little guy” and focus on this fucked up capitalist system that maximizes profits by minimizing spending. otherwise, damn those Asian persons in other countries for taking Amerikkkan jobs. its all their fault for exporting jobs overseas, ha! you must be an imbecile to overlook the macro factors.

meheecan-cris-doner
meheecan-cris-doner

in addition, we also don't rub shit on one another.. unlike like those white kids at Chapman university, which probably learned that from their parents, ha!

18usc241
18usc241 topcommenter

I tell you what:

How about if Carlos Rojas, Raul Quezada, Kevin Raney and Sandra Hutchens respect the laws of this nation and State and also honor their oath all the time - not just when it's convenient. Until then, they are just American hypocrites and traitors.

At least the overwhelming number of undocumented immigrants are not guilty of murder, attempted murder AND/OR it's coverup by helping to harass the victim everyday. You know, as if they were stupid violent gang members backing up their buddies.

Mitchell_Young
Mitchell_Young topcommenter

@meheecan-cris-doner In case you haven't noticed, the capitalist pigs are on the side of open borders. From Jeb Bush to Zuckerberg to Sheldon Adelson. 



dubyadawg
dubyadawg topcommenter

You're so brilliant-not. Shut it.

Brainwashed_in_church
Brainwashed_in_church topcommenter

@meheecan-cris-doner You are 100% correct. Too bad your comment is completely irrelevant. The point of the article is the Feds can reimburse our local government which means less taxes and/or less service cuts for you if the Feds don't. One way or another the "Undocumented Immigrants" are going to be housed. Do you (Orange County Resident) want to pay for it, or would you like the federal government chipping in?

gregbpc
gregbpc topcommenter

@meheecan-cris-doner  Yeh, but they also collect BILLIONS in benefits (schooling, medical care, tax  CREDITS, etc.)

meheecan-cris-doner
meheecan-cris-doner

@Brainwashed_in_church

hey pendejo! I responded to your comment. titiris... dont miss the little yellow bus outside your house, pendejo! jajaja. That is what you get for assuming, pendejo. In other words, you wasted your time typing the former, ha!

gregbpc
gregbpc topcommenter

@meheecan-cris-doner @gregbpc  Outstanding response to refute the cost of illegal immigration.  Good job!  Oh, your mom said to tell you "Hola"!

meheecan-cris-doner
meheecan-cris-doner

@gregbpc

if you subtract the millions from the billions, you will end up in the millions... in other words, your not taking the money the put in to the Amerikkkan system into account. Therefore, you argument is invalid, pendejo!

fishwithoutbicycle
fishwithoutbicycle topcommenter

@gregbpc

I would like to point out that social welfare programs make up a tiny fraction of our national budget...as opposed to the military. I'd much rather pay to help an "undocumented" child and their family than spend one more cent on training my fellow Americans to kill people or building more weapons to help them do it. Pardon my Quixotic bleeding heart...

PS I get tax credits but I do work for a living. Am I a freeloader?

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