DES MOINES, Iowa -- Where ICE detainees can be housed in the state can be a bit confusing. The state offers two different types of detention spaces in its jails.
Channel 13 aired a story on Monday stating the Hardin County Jail was the sole ICE detention facility in the state. After inaccuracy concerns by viewers, we sought clarification. An ICE spokesperson says the Hardin County Jail is the only facility in the state to have a contract with ICE to house suspected illegal immigrants. Federal officials say the Hardin County Jail is not considered an ICE detention facility but rather a detention space. Spokesperson Shawn Neudauer, is unsure how his agency selected Hardin County to form an agreement with ICE in 2000. He encouraged us to fill of Freedom of Information Act to gather that information. Neudauer says ICE has an inter- government service agreement with Hardin County however it does use other jails around the state although it uses access provided by another agency's pre - existing contract like the U.S. Marshall Service.
At least four other county jails in Iowa are contracted with the U.S. Marshall Service. Polk, Linn, Marshall, Pottawattamie county jails receive funding from federal agencies to reserve beds specifically for detainees.
The number of detained suspected illegal immigrants is growing in the state. Over the last week, ICE officials detained 50 people in an "enforcement surge" across the state. It comes as 32 people were arrested at a concrete plant in Mount Pleasant last Wednesday. Immigration attorney, Megan Lantz says that number is concerning.
"I'm starting to see where we are ramping up raids again where in the past it was agents just looking for individual who committed serious crimes, people that we wouldn’t necessarily even want in the U.S. Now, it seems like they are going after people who are just trying to feed their families and in my opinion that’s not the way to enforce immigration laws."
Lantz says as more people are being detained it stirs up more confusion as to where family members can find their loved one. The majority of detainees are held in a several jails before their long - term stay at Hardin or Marshall county jails, the largest housing spaces according to Lantz.