Two staff members from the office of Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Pembroke Pines, will be at tomorrow’s meeting between Immigration and Customs Enforcement and residents of southwest Broward County, at which they will discuss an immigration detention center scheduled to be built nearby. A representative from the Corrections Corporation of America, the private prison company set to build and manage the center, will also attend. CCA’s attendance had previously not been confirmed.
Jodi Davidson, district director for Wasserman Schultz, tells The Florida Independent she will attend the meeting, which will be managed by elected officials of Southwest Ranches. She also confirms that former Attorney General Bob Butterworth will be there to serve as facilitator and that a representative from CCA will be at the Sat., Nov. 5 meeting.
Jonathan Beeton, communications director for Wasserman Schultz, tells the Independent that Ian Rayder, a senior policy advisor for the congresswoman, will travel from Washington, D.C for the meeting.
The Broward County town of Southwest Ranches is partnering with CCA, which according to Detention Watch Network “operates a total of 14 ICE-contracted facilities with a total of 14,556 beds. In 2009, CCA averaged a daily population of 6,199 detained immigrants.”
Residents of Pembroke Pines and the town of Southwest Ranches have voiced their opposition to the federally funded and privately managed detention center.
“The congresswoman pushed to help make sure this meeting happened,” Beeton tells the Independent. “She felt it was very important that all parties involved in this listen to and hear the concerns of the residents in the area.”
Beeton says that residents who support and oppose the proposed detention center have been calling Wasserman Schultz’s office.
In a community meeting in early October, residents released an April 2011 letter in which Sen. Bill Nelson and Wasserman Schultz stated their support for “the application by the Town of Southwest Ranches, Florida, in response to the ‘Request for IGSA Concept Proposal: Miami’ issued by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.”
“We’ve maed it clear that the process had to be more open in order to make sure that all of the concerns of the residents were heard and listened to,” Beeton says. “We would hope that people at that meeting would be open to suggestions on how to lessen the impact on residents.”
The meeting will start at 10 a.m. Sat., Nov. 5 at the Southwest Regional Library in Pembroke Pines.