ELK RIVER -- As the state's second-largest jail, Sherburne County has housed inmates for other agencies since 1998. Now, a new five-year contract with Immigration and Customs Enforcement will guarantee 300 of the 750 jail beds to ICE detainees.

Sheriff Joel Brott says because they contract out many of their beds, the jail is always full. And, while Brott is open to discussions about expanding the number of beds, he says it is premature at this time...

There's a lot of conversations that would need to be had here locally and also negotiations with our federal partners.  I mean, there would be a tremendous cost to expand to that level and what a contract would look like in order to recoup those dollars and make it worthwhile to the county.

Media reports have indicated ICE may be seeking proposals for expanding detention facilities in Minnesota as immigration arrests go up, but Brott says there have been no requests for proposals released by federal officials at this time. Even so, he says any expansion to the jail would need the board of commissioners approval and would have to benefit Sherburne County taxpayers.