Jerome County

How Trump’s Immigration Crackdown Threatens The Dairy Boom In Idaho

Sep 20, 2017
Joy Pruitt / The Center for Public Integrity

There’s a cultural and economic collision occurring in southern Idaho. On one side, the anti-immigrant sentiment has expanded, fueled by conservative talk radio and the rhetoric of the Trump administration. On the other side, the dairy industry – long quiet – is speaking out about their reliance on a foreign-born labor force. And the prospect of a new contract for the county jail has both sides agitated.

ice.gov

Immigration and Customs Enforcement – ICE – is looking to lease beds at the Jerome County Jail to hold immigration suspects. The back and forth between ICE and Jerome County Commissioners has garnered a lot of attention and controversy.

Federal prosecutors are suing the Jerome County Sheriff's Office over allegations the law enforcement agency intentionally refused to rehire a member of the Idaho Army National Guard.

U.S. Attorney Wendy Olson filed the lawsuit in federal court Monday on behalf of Mervin Jones.

The lawsuit accuses sheriff department administrators of terminating Jones while he was recovering from a knee injury suffered in 2004 while serving in Iraq and re-injuring in 2008 during weekend training exercises.