Suffolk Sheriff Hopes To Resolve Relations With Immigration Officials

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Suffolk County Sheriff Andrea Cabral is planning to meet with federal immigration officials over key issues with the agency after her office sent a strongly-worded letter to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement last week complaining of a "staggering lack of communication and respect."

The letter announced that Cabral no longer plans to house immigration detainees and has ordered the federal government to remove all current detainees from a Boston jail by Oct. 12.

"What I do mind is if the agency with which I'm working is not being open with me in terms of information that they may find out about, problems or issues or complaints with detainees and is not informing us," Cabral said.

An ICE spokesman would not confirm any possible meetings with Cabral, but ICE issued a statement saying the agency will continue to work closely with state and local partners.

The sheriff says her office has a good relationship with the local ICE officials, but she has an issue with the larger bureaucracy.

"The decisions they make have an impact on the way we're able to do our job," she said. "And when that's a deleterious impact, it's not acceptable to me."

The sheriff's office has been paid approximately $10 million a year by ICE since 2005 to hold immigrants awaiting deportation or other immigration proceedings.

A recent federal report faulted the medical care provided to Pedro Tavarez, an immigration detainee who died last October after contracting a bacterial infection at the Suffolk County House of Correction.

-- Here's the letter (Scribd):

This program aired on August 20, 2010. The audio for this program is not available.