More roadblocks on the horizon for the new detention center to be built in Miami. This week, Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R-Miami), sent a letter to Immigration Customs Enforcement (ICE) stating his opposition to the location of the new detention center that would be built on land administered by the town of Southwest Ranches and owned by the Corrections Corporation of America in the surrounding areas of Pembroke Pines and Broward County. Rep. Diaz-Balart writes: “Although the facility is not located within the Congressional District I represent, I have been approached by residents concerned that the facility will have a detrimental impact on the local and surrounding communities.” According to him, residents have expressed their concern over the facility affecting property value, adding to the traffic and noise to the area, increasing the utility consumption, as well as being a potential security risk given that the site is less than five miles away from a dozen schools. The congressman writes that until these issues are “appropriately addresses, [he is] opposed to the location of the detention facility.”
The residents of the affected areas have voiced their opposition to the federally funded and privately managed detention center since the project’s inception. In a town hall meeting, the residents told local and federal officials that they do not want an immigration detention center in their area, and have gone further even to call for the resignation of Southwest Ranches Mayor Jeff Nelson. The U.S. Representative of the district where the detention facility is to be built, Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Pembroke Pines), made a public appearance in an effort to ease her constituent’s concerns, saying that the center would have the least negative impact and would create short-term and long-term jobs. In spite of all recent efforts, the residents are most definitely not seeing eye-to-eye with the proponents of the detention center. It will be curious to see if the pressure coming from the residents will suffice to axe the plans altogether.