Indiana's only ICE facility is much closer than you may think

Clay County has Indiana's only immigration and customs enforcement holding facility.

Posted: Jul 16, 2018 6:39 PM
Updated: Jul 16, 2018 6:52 PM

CLAY COUNTY, Ind. (WTHI) -- The U.S. Immigration and customs enforcement agency has been making national headlines. Many may not know that Indiana has it's own ICE holding facility right here in the valley.

The Clay County Justice Center has been a major service provider for ICE in the past few years. 

"We have an agreement with homeland security and Immigrations customs enforcement to hold the individuals at our facility," Paul Harden, Clay County Sheriff says.

Those 'individuals' are people that immigration and customs enforcement agents believe are here illegally. The justice center holds them in their facility until ICE and Homeland Security can check their customs status.

This is Indiana's only U.S. immigrations and customs enforcement holding facility, and some residents didn't know it was right in their backyard.

"No, I actually had no idea," Justin Dickison, a Clay County Resident said. "I feel like it's important that something we do kinda need." 

"Most of the people in our community is in favor for it," Harden said. "They don't always know how many people we house in here.

It's not something that you would expect to be in a small rural Indiana town.

"We're not really used to that kind of stuff," Dickison said. "That kind of stuff is in big cities where people are used to it. It's just kinda different." 

The big question, why Clay County? 

"At the time we were one of the newer jails in Indiana. We had available bed space." The sheriff said. 

Clay County has been working with homeland security and ICE since about 2014. With ICE making the national news it's bringing a lot of attention to this Indiana holding facility. 

"It's hit the news that way. We're doing nothing more than holding them for a federal agency and we care for them and transport them on to another location," Harden explained. 

The federal government does pay Clay County to have this facility. That money goes back into the jail system and day to day operations. 

Harden said they can hold up to 65 detainees per day. Averaging about 25 on any given day. He said they get a call from ICE at least once or twice per week. 

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