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Vote Means ICE Will Stay In Oklahoma County Jail

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The Oklahoma County Board of County Commissioners voted Monday to make the local jail house and support ICE. The decision is in direct contradiction with a recent Oklahoma County Jail Trust decision to remove an ICE agent from the jail.

The board voted 2 to 1 to pass the motion which would require the Oklahoma County Jail to not only house Immigration and Customs Enforcement but also give the agency full access to the jail.

The policy also requires the jail to honor ICE detention orders.

Commissioner Carrie Blumert opposed the policy. She doesn’t believe the board has the authority to decide how the jail works with ICE and argued that power lies with the county’s jail trust.

She also said the policy should have been vetted by a board committee and the county district attorney’s office.

Commissioner Kevin Calvey, who suggested the policy change, argued that the jail trust’s lease agreement requires it to comply with any county policy. Calvey and Commissioner Brian Maughan argued cooperating with ICE is the county’s legal obligation under the U.S. Constitution.

Several citizens attending Monday's meeting strongly opposed the board’s decision and accused Commissioners Calvey and Maughan of making the move for political reasons.

Two weeks ago, the trust voted to remove an ICE agent from the jail after several members determined it had no legal obligation to house the agent. One member also said the jail’s practice of allowing ICE to be the primary interpreter for Spanish speakers was a conflict of interest.

However, that attempt failed because the trust didn’t have enough 'yes' votes. At their next meeting, the trust delayed a re-vote on the resolution to October 19. It's unclear if that re-vote will still happen or if it will carry any weight.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7JR9BE5jGyk

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Quinton Chandler worked at StateImpact Oklahoma from January 2018 to August 2021, focusing on criminal justice reporting.
Ryan LaCroix is the Director of Content and Audience Development for KOSU.
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