Florida Immigration Detention Center Quarrels

With more than 100 residents demanding a stop to the construction of an immigration detention center next to the city of Pembroke Pines due to, as they claim, having been kept in the dark about certain agreements that had been reached, the City Commissioner, Angelo Castillo, has confirmed that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has agreed to come to South Florida to discuss its proposed immigration detention center with the city residents who oppose the project. All of this bickering is surrounding the partnership between Southwest Ranches and the private prison firm Corrections Corporation of America (CCA), in which a detention center would be built on land administered by the former and owned by the latter, yet the problem arising out of the fact that the land is surrounded by residential areas of Pembroke Pines and Broward County. According to Detention Watch Network, CCA is the largest private immigration detention contractor in the country, operating a total of 14 ICE-contracted facilities with a total of 14,556 beds, averaging a daily population consistent of 6,199 detained immigrants. At the time the correctional facility was initially approved in 2005 by the Broward County Development and Environmental Regulation Division, Southwest Ranches had stipulated that no maximum-security prisoners would be housed at the facility. But now several sources have indicated that some detainees may have a criminal history and consequently detainees at the medium and maximum classification may require housing in a more secure area of the facility. Despite these details that negate those previously agreed to and call for renegotiations, in response to residents’ demands to stop the construction of the immigration detention center next to Pembroke Pines, commissioners approved a motion to renegotiate the city’s contract with the town of Southwest Ranches to supply water and sewage to the detention center. Residents argue that they were kept out of the specific agreements made on June 2011 between Southwest Ranches officials and their city to supply water and sewage. It appears that several issues need to be straightened out with the residents before this project will go forward. It will be interesting to see the kind of answers ICE will provide and whether those will suffice for them to come to terms on this agreement.

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