Skip Repetitive Navigation Links

City and County Contracts With U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement
Local Governments Must Improve Oversight to Address Health and Safety Concerns and Cost Overruns

Report Number: 2018-117

Figure 1
Ten Detention Facilities in California Housed Either Detainees or Unaccompanied Children From Fiscal Years 2013–14 Through 2017–18

Figure 1 is a color-coded map of California that shows and briefly describes the detention facilities that house immigration-related detainees. There are 10 facilities on the map, classified by four different colors: navy, aqua, blue, and lavender. Navy boxes indicate county-operated facilities that contract with ICE. The following five facilities are coded as navy: Yuba County Jail located in Yuba County, Rio Cosumnes Correctional Facility, located in Sacramento County, West County Detention Facility, located in Contra Costa County, Theo Lacy Facility, located in Orange County, and James A. Musick Facility, located in Orange County. Aqua boxes indicate facilities operated by a private company on behalf of a city contracting with ICE. The following three facilities are coded as aqua: Mesa Verde Detention Facility, located in the City of McFarland, Adelanto Detention Facility, also called the Adelanto ICE Processing Center, located in the City of Adelanto, and Imperial Regional Detention Facility, located in the City of Holtville. The blue box indicates a fully private facility contracting directly with ICE, and that facility is Otay Mesa Detention Center, located in San Diego County. Lastly, the lavender box indicates a county-operated facility that houses unaccompanied children for Refugee Resettlement, and that facility is Yolo County Juvenile Detention Facility, located in Yolo County. We note that Santa Ana City Jail ended its contract with ICE during the audit period, and ICE had removed all detainees by June 30, 2017, so we did not include it in the count. Additionally, Rio Cosumnes Correctional Facility did not renew its contract with ICE after we began the audit, and West County Detention Facility ended its contract after we began our audit, as did McFarland.

Go back to Figure 1

Figure 2
State Entities and Officers That Have Responsibilities Related to Facilities That Can House Detainees or Unaccompanied Children

Figure 2 depicts the facilities which the Attorney General, Community Corrections, and Social Services interact with. These include private detention facilities and local detention facilities for adult detainees, and juvenile detention facilities and community care facilities, such as foster family homes and group homes, for unaccompanied children. Until 2027, the Attorney General will review and report on private detention facilities, local detention facilities, and juvenile detention facilities regarding conditions of confinement. Community Corrections establishes standards of facility design and operation and inspects facilities; specifically, it has responsibilities over local detention facilities and juvenile detention facilities. Finally, Social Services licenses and inspects community care facilities.

Go back to Figure 2

Figure 3
Cities Do Not Adequately Oversee Their Private Operators Housing ICE Detainees

Figure 3 presents a graphic depicting the transfer of money from ICE to cities, and then from cities to private operators, and the lack of oversight by the city over the private operators. ICE contracts with cities to house detainees, pays cities a per-diem rate to house them, and the cities subcontract nearly all of their ICE contract responsibilities to private operators. Additionally, cities pay their private operators the same per-diem rate that the city is paid under the ICE contract, and private operators pay the cities fees for administering the ICE contract. Private operators provide housing, food, transportation, medical, and other services to detainees. ICE may also pay cities for related services such as detainee transportation, guard services, and the detainee work program. While federal entities inspect detention facilities, the cities do not conduct oversight such as reviewing quality control plans, complaints, incident reports, or federal inspection reports.

Go back to Figure 3

Figure 4
Orange County Has Not Taken Appropriate Action to Address the Financial Impact of Its ICE Contract

Figure 4 presents a small map that draws attention to Yuba, Sacramento, Contra Costa, and Orange Counties. It also shows a table with check boxes that identify whether the county has 1) maintained annual detainee costs data during the audit period, 2) whether ICE fully paid for the costs of housing the detainees, and 3) the current status of the contracts. Orange County has not maintained annual detainee costs data and ICE does not fully pay for the costs of housing detainees. Currently, Orange County has not renegotiated its contracted per-diem rate with ICE. Yuba County has maintained annual detainee costs data, but ICE did not fully pay for detainee costs in fiscal year 2017-18. Yuba County has renegotiated its contracted per-diem rate. Sacramento County has maintained annual detainee costs data during the audit period, but ICE did not fully pay for detainee costs in fiscal years 2016-17 nor 2017-18. Sacramento County did not renew its contract. Lastly, Contra Costa County did not maintain annual detainee costs data, and the documentation we received from Contra Costa County does not show whether ICE fully paid for the costs. Contra Costa County terminated its agreement pertaining to ICE services.

Go back to Figure 4

Figure 5
Orange County’s Identified Detainee Costs Exceeded ICE Payments in Fiscal Year 2017–18

Figure 5 shows a series of calculations. To start, Orange County’s per-diem rate from ICE is $118 per detainee. The county’s own estimated cost per detainee per day is $123.75 – a $5.75 difference. After multiplying Orange County’s average number of detainees billed per day in 2017-18, or 834, by $5.75, and then by 365 days per year, the total missed revenue that Orange County could have received from ICE equals approximately $1.7 million.

Go back to Figure 5