Some new space at the recently expanded Montgomery County Correctional Facility will be used by people on their way out of the U.S.
The Montgomery County Board of Commissioners on Thursday approved a resolution that paves the way for the Dept. of Homeland Security to house up to 60 Immigrations and Customs Enforcement detainees at the county jail.
The detainees are known to be in the country illegally and scheduled for deportation.
Forty beds at the jail -- in the Eagleville section of Lower Providence Township -- will be reserved for male and 20 for female deportees.
On average, a detainee will stay at the jail for three days, but some might not spend a night, according to Uri Monson, the county's chief financial officer.
"Some of these people might only be waiting a few hours for a plane," said Frank Custer, head of the county's communications office. "They may never make it out of a holding cell."
How much the DHS will pay the county for use of the MCCF has not been determined. According to Monson, the cost of housing someone at the facility was estimated at $55 per day about 15 years ago and has not been recalculated since. Monson said the county is working to determine appropriate pricing for use of the jail.
"We're in the process of determining all the costs," Monson said.
Commissioner Bruce Castor, however, said when the county first examined the idea of housing ICE deportees at the jail, the cost per person was estimated at about $90 per day.
"Since that time, the cost has gone up, and the ICE people are now in negotiation mode," Castor said.
Deportees will not be housed in a specific section of the jail.
"They would be housed wherever there's room," Custer said.
"It's an endless supply," Castor said of the county's arrangement with the DHS. "(ICE) will never run out of people they need to deport."