Company eyeing Elkhart County for new immigration detention center
ELKHART COUNTY, Ind. – Organizers say the community is preparing to fight back against plans to bring an immigrant detention center to Michiana.
“At the time where we have a thriving economy and want to diversify our economy, a prison is not going to do that for us,” said Richard Aguirre, the founder of Elkhart County HOPE.
The Tennessee-based company CoreCivic is eyeing Elkhart County for a potential ICE facility.
And while no plans have been submitted in writing to the county just yet, the county’s commission could vote on the fate of that facility by January.
If approved, the company hopes to complete building of the facility on County Road 7 in two years.
But the odds of that happening might not be in the company’s favor.
It was denied a similar proposal in Gary after community backlash.
“My goal is to help those folks begin thinking about how we talk about this in the community,” said Mike Yoder, an Elkhart County Commissioner.
Commissioners are making sure the community has a seat at the table while talks of an immigrant detention center coming to the area are the topic.
“This land use is permitted in this zone but it’s only permitted with these particular procedures so county commissioners will have the up or down vote,” said Yoder.
If the CoreCivic submits the proposal to the county by December, that vote could happen mid-January.
But before then the commission will hear from the community.
“Why don’t you try to find a community that wants this, because we don’t,” said Aguirre.
Some community leaders hope to block the proposal.
They’re planning a rally outside the county courthouse Saturday at 1 pm.
“You’ll see federal immigration agents coming through town,” said Aguirre. “You’ll see them driving downtown and event legal immigrants are stopped and questioned and that just doesn’t make for a very welcoming place.”