The Springfield City Council unanimously voted Monday night to abandon its contract to rent municipal county jail beds to immigration and customs enforcement.
The Springfield city hall chamber was packed for Monday night’s meeting on the city’s contract with ICE. A motion to extend the public comment time from twenty minutes to an hour allowed many of the over 250 attendees to speak.
The Springfield Police Department signed a contract with ICE in 2012 to rent out 5 of their 11 jail beds for ICE detainees. The jail charged $80 a bed and could hold detainees for up to 72 hours.
Mariana Paradones grew up in Arizona and moved to Springfield four years ago. She shared her testimony on ICE to the councilors:
“When I was eight years old I saw police raid my house and take my father right from my eyes," Paradones spoke. "When I was in high school about to go to my first prom, my brothers were both deported for non-violent crimes. Both had visas, both had passports. It does not matter to ice.”
City Councilor Sheri More spoke first for councilor comments:
“I have decided that I can’t amend a contract that I wouldn’t have approved to begin with," Moore said. "I don’t believe there is any benefit to the city of Springfield, not socially, not financially, not ethically. Our municipal jail was not funded by the citizens for detaining ice arrestees.”
Nobody from the audience spoke in favor of the contract. City Councilor Joe Pishioneri spoke on the importance of public safety and was in favor of the proposed amendment. After discussion, however, all counselors voted to direct the city manager to end the ICE contract.
This article was updated for grammar on June 28.