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Community leaders continue to fight ICE detention center proposal

ELKHART, Ind. — Community leaders are looking to block an ICE facility from setting up shop in their backyards.

“We need to do this not only for Elkhart but the state of Indiana,” said Brent Curry, Elkhart’s fifth district councilman.

Tuesday afternoon, the Coalition Against the Elkhart County Immigration Detention Center announced plans to fight the proposal during a press conference.

“The project runs contrary to the good work Goshen and other cities in the county have done,” said Julia King, Goshen at-large councilwoman.

Nearly a dozen voices said no to a proposal they say shake up in Elkhart County.

ABC 57 News first reported in November, the company CoreCivic was eyeing a location off County Road 7 for an Immigration Detention Center.

A spokesperson for CoreCivic said in a statement this proposal would accommodate a growing need to house detainees from Chicago, not necessarily target Hoosiers.

The spokesperson wrote in part:

“CoreCivic has no role in the enforcement of immigration laws, and we have strict, long-standing policies in place that prevent lobbying on such matters.”

Dissent back then from the community was loud, and months later, the opposition to that proposal has grown even louder.

“Our workforce is reliant on immigrant labor and many of our local businesses are also dependent on immigrants,” said Richard Aguirre, a co-coordinator of the Coalition Against the Elkhart County Immigration Detention Center.

A few immigrants who spoke out Tuesday refused to back down.

“I’m ready to fight,” said Dara Marquez, a member of the Indiana Undocumented Youth Alliance, during the press conference. “It’s just allowing for us to have all these different conversations and for us to have faith in our work and faith in the future that things will be ok.”

The proposal will go before the county’s planning commission February 8 at 9:30 a.m. at the Public Services Building in Goshen.

The board of commissioners will hear the proposal March 19 at 9 a.m. at the Administration Building in Goshen.

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