Spike in ICE detainees at Randall County Jail

Spike in ICE detainees at Randall County Jail
Source: KFDA
Source: KFDA
Source: KFDA
Source: KFDA

RANDALL COUNTY, TX (KFDA) - Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has sent more detainees to the Randall County Jail this month than they have over the previous six months.

In December, the jail housed 26 ICE detainees.

In January it was 16.

As of Monday, they've housed 51 in February.

"It didn't really surprise me," said Captain Paul Horn, Randall County Jail Administrator. "It is a little bit more than what we generally get. But it kind of comports with what we're seeing in the news so it very well could be part of that."

By "that" he means recent memos President Trump has released regarding stricter immigration patrolling.

"They're asking for more immigration and customs and border enforcement to take place," said local immigration attorney Nicholas Nevarez. "And they're asking for it to be after individuals who are charged with criminal offenses or have been previously deported."

Many of these detainees are coming from counties around Amarillo, where local law enforcement has been getting stricter.
But they're not just getting arrested for violent crimes.

Nevarez said more immigrants are now being booked for things that used to just be a ticketable offense - like driving without a license.

Then when they're booked and authorities find these people don't have social security numbers, that's when ICE steps in.

The higher number of detainees coming to the Randall County Jail is impacting our economy in a couple ways.

"There are several jobs that Americans will just never work at, maybe it's in the agriculture field or maybe it's in the restaurants," said Nevarez. "So if there's an immigrant that's working that job and they're no longer allowed to be in the United States, the restaurant owner now has to raise their costs to pay a higher salary to find an American [to do the job]."

Plus, the more people detained, the more tax dollars spent.

The jail has not been told they'll be getting a higher number of ICE detainees soon, but Nevarez expects the spikes to continue for a little while since the executive orders are so new.

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