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Pinal board delays ending jail contract with ICE

CASA GRANDE, Ariz. -- Pinal County is postponing a decision on whether to end a money-losing federal contract for housing immigration detainees in the county jail, instead voting to try once more to renegotiate a new deal.

The Board of Supervisors voted Wednesday to seek help from members of the state's congressional delegation on changing the current contract that an audit said costs the county about $2.5 million a year.

According to the Casa Grande Dispatch, Sheriff Paul Babeu argued against ending the contract, saying that would force elimination of 200 jobs, mostly jail detention officers.

Supervisor Pete Rios said the county has struggled for years to work out a new contract with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement but those efforts have proved fruitless.

The supervisors will reconsider the issue May 29.

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