Mayor indicates detention center too far along

ICE detention center to be built in Southwest Ranches

SOUTHWEST RANCHES, Fla. - A community concerned with the building of an U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement detention center were vocal again Thursday night, but the city's mayor indicated the plan is too far along.

CCA, a private prison company, plans to build the ICE detention center on land it owns in Southwest Ranches. A women's prison already exists on the location.

Many living in the area oppose the plan.

"I am disgusted with this detention center, this prison. This is ridiculous," said one woman.

Many residents who spoke began by saying they had been to meetings before to voice their opposition. Opponents argue that an immigration detention center could negatively affect property values and put the community's safety at risk.

"We don't want it. Why can't you hear it?" one man asked the commissioners.

"Even before the town incorporated in 2000, it was an industrial site," said Southwest Ranches Mayor Jeff Nelson. He said there is not much commissioners can do because the deal was struck years ago.

"We have an existing contract. It was signed with CCA back in 2000," said Nelson.

Thursday night, the mayor announced the company had pulled permits to clear the land and to build an access road. Pembroke Pines had already okayed water and sewer lines to the facility.

"The process has begun," said Nelson.

One woman at the meeting said opponents should have known about the plan.

"It was there before we existed. When they buy their homes, they should do their homework," she said.

Others plan on continuing their fight against the detention center.

"If you just give up and lay down, this is going to happen," said Angelo Grande.

The mayor plans to ask homeowner's associations for their concerns about traffic and security.

About 75 people attended Thursday night's meeting.

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