Emails obtained by the Idaho Press show Canyon County jail officials actively reaching out to federal immigration officials to come pick up inmates they suspect of violating immigration law, writes Idaho Press reporter Nicole Foy. In several cases, Canyon County deputies called on federal officials to check on inmates who turned out to be American citizens.

“Have just booked in a foreign born,” wrote customer service specialist Joann James one early Sunday morning. “(S)tates she is a citizen, she is currently being held on a zero bond until court Monday.”

The woman in question, Melissa Castro, was in the Canyon County Jail for several drug-related charges. By 11:27 a.m., a Boise deportation officer emailed his response. “Travel records indicate this subject is a USC (U.S. Citizen),” replied deportation officer David Perkins. “Therefore, she is not removable from the US and no detainer will be placed.”

The Idaho Press obtained emails between Canyon County and federal immigration officials via a public records request. More than 300 pages of emails were all from the month of March, Foy reports. The revelation of these emails comes at a time that Canyon County is facing three lawsuits related to its handling of inmates suspected of being in the United States without permission. The lawsuits allege jail staff turn inmates over to ICE even after inmates have posted bond and have a legal right to be released under Idaho state law.

You can read Foy's full story here at (subscription required), or pick up today's edition of the Idaho Press; it's on the front page.

Betsy Z. Russell is the Boise bureau chief and state capitol reporter for the Idaho Press and Adams Publishing Group. Follow her on Twitter at @BetsyZRussell.

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