Residents of Southwest Ranches and Pembroke Pines, as well as immigrant advocates, will gather Thursday to once again voice their opposition to the construction of a privately run immigration detention center in Broward County.
Southwest Ranches is partnering with the private prison firm Corrections Corporation of America, currently the largest private immigration detention contractor in the county.
According to a white paper Southwest Ranches and the company filed with the Broward County government:
ICE requires approximately 1,500-2,000 new detention beds to meet local demand in the Miami metropolitan area. Ideally, this demand would be met by one 1,000-1,500 bed facility, with the capacity to expand to 2,000 beds. However, ICE will consider proposals for facilities of 750 or more detention beds.
The desired services can be provided in a dedicated multi-purpose facility or multi-facility campus with both secure (medium and maximum security cases) and non-secure residential (low and minimum security cases) beds that is designed and operated to process and house adult detainees, including the full range of criminal and non-criminal cases, in a manner consistent with ICE’s recently announced civil detention reform initiatives.
Torey Alston — the chief of staff for Broward County Commissioner Barbara Sharief, who represents the area where the detention center would be built — tells the Independent that Sharief “is very much aware of the ICE facility has proposed landing in Southwest Ranches. She has heard from officials with the city, she has heard from officials with CCA and she has also heard from those who are against the facility and she will be weighing in very soon on the item.”
A press release issued Wednesday by the Florida Immigrant Coalition states that on “September 1st, students and community leaders from South Florida will participate in a rally to stop the construction of a new for-profit detention center. Florida Immigrant Coalition (FLIC), Students Working for Equal Rights (SWER), and some area residents will rally in Southwest Ranches, where the Town Council of Southwest Ranches wants CCA (Corrections Corporation of America) to build a 2000 bed detention facility.”
The release adds: “Immigrant advocates are not the only ones who disagree with the facility. Residents have been meeting for several weeks and there is a growing resistance to the detention center among residents in Southwest Ranches and Pembroke Pines. They fear that the CCA detention center will increase traffic in their area, lower the value of their homes, and use their public resources.”