Burnet County Jail sees spike in ICE detainees
The Burnet County Jail has been taking in a much larger number of inmates awaiting deportation than usual.
The jail agreed to hold inmates for Immigration and Customs Enforcement after other jails near the border filled up.
“We have a unique situation in Burnet County because we have a jail that's actually larger than we need. Most counties find themselves with a jail that's overcrowded,” said Burnet County Sheriff Calvin Boyd.
The 580 bed jail has 80 vacancies right now. Usually they have about 150.
Most of the time Immigration and Customs Enforcement buses bring less than 20 detainees, but lately that number is closer to 100.
“I think ICE and Border Patrol in general is really busy right now,” Boyd said.
The majority of detainees coming to Burnet County Jail are from Central America according to Boyd. They have all been processed and had hearings and are waiting in the jail until they are deported. That typically takes less than 48 hours.
The reason they end up in Burnet County is because jails along the Texas/Mexico border are already full.
“The only thing worse than being in jail is being in an overcrowded jail,” said Boyd.
Federal authorities pay Burnet County about $60 dollars per inmate per day for housing the ICE detainees.
“It helps out a lot. It's very expensive to run a county jail and so having that income helps our county out to house our prisoners,” Boyd said.
The spike in inmates on immigration holds began about four weeks ago. So far it isn't slowing down and Boyd doesn't have any idea when it will.