Jerome County is considering entering into a contract with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), wherein the federal government would lease 50 beds in the Jerome County jail.
If you are uneasy about this overreach by the federal government, know that the commissioners intend to allow the government to conduct what is described as a "public relations campaign." The federal government will use tax-payer money to sell their side of the issue. The citizens of the county who oppose the contract do not have the money or professional marketing access anywhere near equal to those of the federal government. By allowing this campaign, the county commissioners will be able to dodge individual responsibility by pointing to “the will of the constituents” which will have been engineered by the government’s ad-men. It is shocking that the commissioners would even consider this marketing scheme.
The Jerome County Commissioners express concern over the possible impact to the dairy industry. On Monday, July 3, Commissioner Morley said, ”Nothing should ever interfere with that.” No mention was made of any concern for the welfare, security and social and mental health of the members of Jerome’s Hispanic community whose labor makes the dairy industry possible in Jerome. When the county cozies up to ICE it is likely to have a chilling affect on the dairy related labor force. Once word drifts through the Hispanic workforce that ICE has a freer hand in Jerome County, many are likely to want to settle in a friendlier community.
Once ICE is allowed to function more fully within the county, there will be no way to control its activity.
The right thing to do here is to refuse to enter into any contract that gives the federal government control over any part of the Jerome County jail.
Michael Johnson, Jerome