Readers React: The anti-slavery precedent for states and counties kicking ICE out of their jails

Flags fly in front of the West County Detention Center in Richmond, Calif., Tuesday, July 10, 2018.
The West County Detention Center in Richmond, Calif., which will cancel its profitable contract with federal immigration authorities to house suspects facing deportation.
(Jeff Chiu / Associated Press)

To the editor: States and counties banning federal presence in local jails is not new. (“Contra Costa County cuts ties with ICE, ending contract for jailing immigrant detainees,” July 11)

In the years leading up to the Civil War, a number of Northern states banned the U.S. government from using their county jails to hold fugitive slaves. Some free states also passed “personal liberty laws” that provided due process rights to the noncitizen fugitive slaves who had escaped slavery and sought refuge in the North.

U.S. marshals tried very hard to enforce the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850, but they were frustrated by free-state resistance.

Carl Martz, Redlands


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