Protesters in Richmond Urge Contra Costa County Sheriff to Cancel $6 Million Annual Contract With ICE | NBC Bay Area
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Protesters in Richmond Urge Contra Costa County Sheriff to Cancel $6 Million Annual Contract With ICE

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    Protesters in Richmond Urge Contra Costa County Sheriff to Cancel $6 Million Annual Contract With ICE
    Andres Brender/Telemundo 48
    Protesters at a detention facility in Richmond where undocumented immigrants are held by the federal government. (April 11, 2017)

    Activists on Tuesday called on Contra Costa County Sheriff David Livingston to stop cooperating with what they say is President Donald Trump's "mass deportation machine" by protesting at a detention facility in Richmond used to house undocumented immigrants held by the federal government.

    The protest started at 11 a.m. at the West County Detention Facility at 5555 Giant Highway.

    The 1,104-bed medium-security facility, operated by the Contra Costa County Sheriff's Office, is also used to house federal detainees under a contract with the U.S. Marshals Service, according to sheriff's spokesman Jimmy Lee.

    As part of that contract, Immigration and Customs Enforcement pays for the sheriff's office to hold roughly 200 detainees per day. This generates roughly $6 million in gross revenue per year for the county and nets roughly $3 million, according to documents provided by Lee.

    The federal detainees are not generally arrested by sheriff's deputies or even involved in court proceedings in Contra Costa County, according to Lee.

    "We are not involved in their cases in any way nor do we deport people," Lee said.

    Richmond Protesters Urge Contra Costa County Sheriff to Cancel $6 Million Annual Contract With ICERichmond Protesters Urge Contra Costa County Sheriff to Cancel $6 Million Annual Contract With ICE

    Housing them locally, however, may allow some detainees to remain in the Bay Area rather than getting transferred to facilities in other counties or states.

    Organizers behind Tuesday morning's protest say they're urging Sheriff Livingston to end the county's collaboration with ICE.

    Immigrants and family members of immigrants detained by ICE were expected to participate in the protest as well as Valerie Long, international executive vice president of Service Employees International Union.

    Cat Brooks of the Anti-Police Terror Project will also be speaking on the criminalization of minorities, which she says has continued under the Trump administration.

    Today's action marks the second day of the "Caravan Against Fear," which the activists describe as a journey through California and the Mexican border region to build momentum for a national strike on May 1.

    ICE officials did not immediately respond to a request for comment on today's protest.

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