Madera, Calif. - Madera County's District Attorney is sharing new details about how jail officials are working with federal immigration agents to deport undocumented inmates. The Madera DA says at last check there were 85 undocumented inmates convicted of crimes being held at the Madera County Jail. He says jail officials are now sharing information about those inmates with ICE agents.
"I started getting calls from ICE from their field offices in Fresno and San Francisco expressing concerns that they could not work with the Madera County Jail and they weren't getting any cooperation from it," said Madera County District Attorney David Linn.
Madera County Jail officials are working with ice agents because Linn says there's too much at stake.
"If President Trump does what he's threatening to do, stop federal funding we would lose a minimum of $46 Million a year which would cause chaos in this county," said Linn.
Now the jail passes along information about when undocumented criminals will be released, so ICE agents can be there to pick them up.
"All ICE wants and all I want is for the jail to accept the phone call from ICE and say yes he's here and we are going to release him on such and such a date," said Linn.
Jessica Smith Bobadilla has been working immigration cases for more than 15 years and says innocent undocumented families could be harmed by this agreement.
"Sometimes this enhanced communication can facilitate the detention and eventual removal of people who are the bread winner are a good father, good husband you know kind of the backbone of their family that could of otherwise been reformed and maybe they weren't violent, but maybe made mistakes," said immigration attorney Jessica Smith Bobadilla.
But Linn says ICE is after specific undocumented criminals.
"The real determining factor is what the background has been and how many other crimes they've committed and if they appear to pose a threat to the community," said Linn.
The Madera County DA says it costs county taxpayers $3,500 a month to house one inmate, so this relationship with ICE is about cutting costs too. The DA says proposed legislation in Sacramento would not impact his current agreement with ICE.