The Suffolk County Sheriff’s Department has ordered US Immigration and Customs Enforcement to remove all immigrant detainees from a Boston jail by Oct. 12, accusing the federal agency of a “staggering lack of communication and respect,” according to a copy of a letter sent to ICE last week.
The harshly worded letter, obtained by the Globe, was a marked turnaround for Sheriff Andrea Cabral's office. Last year she called the federal immigration contract “a lifesaver for my budget,” bringing $10 million a year in federal funding in exchange for housing about 300 immigrants a day.
ICE spokesman Brian P. Hale confirmed that the agency has received the letter and is reviewing it.
In recent weeks, tensions have risen between the agencies over Suffolk’s push for more money for housing immigrant detainees, according to a copy of the letter written by Suffolk attorney James M. Davin.
Suffolk officials also were upset that a federal report faulting them for waiting too long to take a seriously ill detainee to the hospital was provided to the Globe before they received a copy. Pedro Tavarez, a Dominican national facing deportation, died at age 49.
The Globe had repeatedly requested a copy of the Tavarez report and received it when it was available to the public.
Cabral and her spokesman Peter Van Delft, did not respond to multiple telephone messages and e-mails requesting comment today. The sheriff has also been in the news in recent days because of the suicide Sunday of accused Craigslist killer Philip Markoff in the Nashua Street Jail, which she also oversees.
In the letter, Davin wrote that ICE, the federal agency in charge of detaining and deporting immigrants, failed to provide the sheriff’s office with audit reports, resisted efforts to resolve detainees’ complaints, and failed to notify them that the investigation into Tavarez’s death had concluded.
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