Los Angeles County is spending an estimated $26 million a year to hold undocumented immigrants under the Secure Communities program, according to a report released Thursday by Justice Strategies. Secure Communities, also known as S-Comm, checks the legal status of anyone booked into a local jail and transfers those who are undocumented to ICE custody.
Among the report’s findings:
- Los Angeles County taxpayers spend over $26 million per year to detain immigrants for ICE.
- Individuals in Los Angeles County custody who are subject to immigration detainers spend, on average, 20.6 extra days in county custody.
- California taxpayers spend an estimated $65 million annually to detain immigrants for ICE.
- Based on L.A. County averages the report concludes S-Comm is costing the state an estimated $65 million.
“We have known for some time that Secure Communities has undermined public safety and imperiled civil rights, and we now know it is also a massive unfunded mandate and an enormous burden on California taxpayers,” Chris Newman, Legal Director of the National Day Laborer Organizing Network, said in a statement. “It’s time we put this ineffective, dangerous, and expensive program to rest.”
The report estimates LA County is turns an estimated 20,000 immigrants over to ICE each year.
According to data records compiled by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, 5,184 people who were booked into the jail system during the first three months of 2011 were handed over to ICE, the deportation enforcement arm of the Department of Homeland Security. Using these figures, it is possible to estimate that over a year’s time, 20,736 County Jail prisoners will be released into ICE custody.
The report used the L.A. County findings to estimate S-Comm is costing the state of California $65 million a year.
Los Angeles County and the State of California are spending tremendous amounts of tax-payer dollars to detain immigrants for civil immigration violations. A conservative estimate places this cost at $26 million annually for Los Angeles County alone. The cost to California taxpayers of holding people for ICE is estimated to be more than $65 million.
“We can begin to solve this problem in California by enacting the TRUST Act, which already passed the state senate,” said Newman. “The TRUST Act stands for the basic proposition that immigrants who pose no threat to public safety should not be jailed at California taxpayer expense. This report gives us a much better sense of how much money the TRUST Act will save California taxpayers.”