City of Pembroke Pines awaits response from the POTUS regarding largest Immigration Detention Center
Wednesday, February 29, 2012 — The Pembroke Pines City Commission passed Resolution 3330 directed to the President of the United States, Barack Obama, on February 1, 2012 by a unanimous vote asking that he intercede with a recent announcement that ICE officials have tentatively selected the affluent and bucolic Town of Southwest Ranches as the sole location for their newest Immigration Prison / Deportation Processing Center.
The Miami Herald reported on the impact of the grassroots resident’s movement against the prison and their growth in sophistication as they formed a PAC, and as they escalate the issue into a full blown political campaign with national ramifications due to DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s and Senator Bill Nelson’s ill advised written endorsement of the project. Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/2012/02/23/2655981/campaigns-gear-up-for-against.html
The site is a Southwest Ranches island of land outside the Town’s main contiguous sections and is surrounded by both City of Pembroke Pines residents and unincorporated Broward County land. There are 16,000 homes and 24,000 school children within a few mile radius of the proposed prison.
Pembroke Pines is the 11th largest city in the State of Florida, so the City Commission expects that the President should at least respond to this important “cry for help” from the Commission on behalf of its residents and businesses that would be threatened most by this facility. Nearly a month has passed and the President has not yet responded to this official resolution.
None of the Republican presidential front-runners have commented on the siting of these “Secure Communities” prisons here as well as in other Democratic strongholds such as Crete, IL, just southwest of Chicago, President Obama’s old hometown.
“Secure Communities” is an ICE initiative to deport 400,000 illegal aliens a year with criminal involvement and allegedly requires the building of many new privately run prisons / deportation processing centers.
Will the President step in and protect the people in this area from a project that has been kept silent by Corrections Corporation of America, LLC through invite only “advisory meetings” policy of a “cone of silence” by the Town of Southwest Ranches identified through public records requests and implemented by request of DHS/ICE and CCA? Southwest Ranches has 7200 residents and is situated between Weston and Pembroke Pines with more than 200,000 residents in both municipalities affected by Southwest Ranches decision, Senator Nelson’s and Congresswoman Schultz’s endorsement to bring this troublesome facility into the area.
Corrections Corporation of America, LLC (CCA) purchased three parcels of land totaling 20 acres in 1998 from land baron Ronald Bergeron. Mr. Bergeron sold other parcels to home developers as close as 2000 feet way from the parcels that CCA had purchased. CCA waited until that area was built up with high density planned communities, state of the art schools, and a pristine nature preserve before announcing their intent to court ICE for what would be the biggest immigrant deportation center in the country. This facility was originally planned to be three times larger than the Krome Detention Center twenty miles away south of the CCA facility.
Residents who recently learned about this plan in June of 2011 became outraged that anyone would think of expanding prison construction in west Broward County. The sole prison located out west, Broward Correctional Institution, is a state run facility of dormitory style housing and has been slated to close on May 1st of 2012 due to the decline in state‐wide prison population as well as the age of the facility (built circa 1977).
We are not aware if the expansion of population in the surrounding area may have had been a determining factor in the State of Florida’s decision to close this facility;
however, the landscape in west Broward has changed radically over the past forty years. The City of Pembroke Pines is working closely with Broward County to ensure that the facility is downgraded from prison use in an effort to revitalize the area. BCI’s closure was always the hope of the residents. This should be a time to take a serious look at the development in the area, and to develop environmentally friendly industries, which are compatible with life on the edge of the Everglades.