Residents Against Inappropriate Development, Inc. MEDIA ADVISORY: Tuesday, June 19, 2012 MEDIA CONTACTS: Shirley Merchant (754) 223-9707 firstname.lastname@example.org http://www.noprisonswr.org facebook.com/ swranchesdetentioncenter
ICE Pulled the Plug!
Tuesday, June 19, 2012 ‐‐ After a year long battle, this detention center issue has met it’s final chapter. We have attended countless meetings, held protests, signed many petitions, made signs, and distributed information. The RAID PAC maintained the blistering campaign fighting plans that had long been touted as a “done deal” since last June. Through our efforts combined with other like-minded groups we chipped away at the armor of the detention center plans until now coming to it’s final obliteration.
At a June 15, 2012 press conference, President Barack Obama discussed a change in Department of Homeland Security policy where deportation will no longer apply to immigrants who came into the country before they were 16 and are now younger than 30, have lived here for five straight years, have never been convicted of a crime or graduated from high school or got a GED. Such immigrants will be allowed to apply for a two-year work permit that can be renewed unlimited times. It is estimated that this policy change effects approximately 800,000 immigrants, a portion of which would have inhabited the proposed detention center in Southwest Ranches, FL. This is in addition to the existing Krome Avenue and Broward Transitional Detention Centers. While the timing of this announcement is probably campaign motivated, the activists at RAID (Residents Against Inappropriate Development) are delighted with this sudden shift in deportation priorities for DHS, which renders a new facility in Southwest Ranches, FL unnecessary.
Moments later, the Public Affairs Officer for ICE released the following statement that, “ICE has reevaluated its need for an additional detention facility in South Florida and has decided that it will no longer pursue a facility in the Town of Southwest Ranches. We are examining our options for additional detention space in the region and will make the appropriate notifications when a decision about the way forward has been made.”
Corrections Corporation of America, the private prison contractor who owns the noncontiguous Southwest Ranches prison parcel, issued a written response through Steve Owen, a company spokesman: “One of the greatest values we offer our government partners is the flexibility to meet their changing circumstances,’’ Owen’s statement read. “We understand ICE’s decision not to proceed with a civil detention facility. We are grateful for ICE’s tentative selection of our site and Southwest Ranches’ interest in partnering with CCA.’’
Pembroke Pines resident, Lorena Burgoa reflected on the news, “The politicians that wanted this prison here will be remembered as the ones that were doing the wrong thing for the community because they were guided only by monetary greed. They won’t be remembered as the leaders that fought with their residents side by side to do the right thing.” Long-time Southwest Ranches resident Susan Jones discusses her feelings on the decision, “We are elated ICE has decided against building a facility such as this in the middle of a residential area, where over 23 thousand children live and attend school. We are disappointed in the lack of support, communication and concern from our representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz.”
It was made clear that this policy shift and by the President’s statement that this facility is no longer necessary due to the fact that those that would need detaining in this facility are no longer going to be detained. If this facility had been built, ICE would have had to pay for any vacant beds ensuring that CCA and the Town could turn a profit. Several IGSAs (Inter-Governmental Service Agreements) surveyed by RAID put ICE on the hook to pay their private prison operators at a certain capacity whether they fill the beds or not. In addition, a change in Presidential policy could also leave this facility empty. This is something that RAID members had often warned the Southwest Ranches Town Council about in numerous emails. A potential outcome they chose to ignore. In a time when it’s critical to reduce federal spending, this project would have been a bad decision for the federal government and in turn would have been a bad decision for the town of southwest ranches and surrounding areas.
RAID would like to thank the other groups that showed great courage such as FLIC, Frank Smith and Private Corrections Working Group, Grassroots Leadership, Broward Democratic Hispanic Caucus, Florida Legal Services, The ACLU, and especially the Pembroke Pines and Southwest Ranches community members who chose to stand up against this project and for the community. We thank them for their constant support…