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The Henderson County jail will hold up to 10 Immigrations and Customs Enforcement prisoners under a new contract approved in Commisssioners Court on Tuesday.

"Weve been working with Immigration and Customs Enforcement for several years now trying to get this contract in order," Sheriff Botie Hillhouse said. "They sent it to us last month. We'll basically be a temporary holding facility for ICE,"

The contract calls for ICE to pay the county $62.87 per day. per inmate to hold the prisoners.

If everything goes well with the county holding 10 of the prisoners, ICE may ask for more beds, Hillhouse said.

"Four ICE agents office in Henderson County now," HIllhouse said. "They will be able to drop the prisoners off and their transportation people in Dallas will come and pick them up. It'll save them a lot more time and they'll be able to do more work here in this district."

Hillhouse said they will only be in the jail in Athens up to 72 hours before they are transported to Dallas.

"There is basically nothing new that we'll have to do," Hillhouse said. "We already fall under the Texas Commission on Jail Standards. The only thing that will be new to us is we'll be inspected by the federal government, but ICE has already been in our facility six or seven times."

County Judge Wade McKinney said the contract is the culmination of about three years worth of work.

"It's based upon the business practices within the jail," McKinney said. "The sheriff's department and all of the staff are truly to be commended."

Commissioners Court also voted to:

• appoint Halie Bever to the county insurance committee;

• approve an out of state travel request for Elections Administrator Denise Hernadez to attend a certification graduation event;

• approve Clint W. Murchison Memorial Library participation in the Texas State Library Interlibrary Loan Lending Reimbursement Program;

• approve a 35-miles-per-hour speed limit on County Road 3817,

• approve a right-of-way permit from the Bethel Ash Water Supply Corporation to bore under County Road 3715 and

• authorize payment of bills totaling $325,238.43.

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