Archive | August, 2011

Upcoming Legislative Delegation Hearings — September 2011

29 Aug

Upcoming Legislative Delegation Hearings

September 2011

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Brevard County

Time: 3:00 pm – 8:00 pm

Location: Brevard County Commission Chambers,

2725 Judge Fran Jamieson Way, Building C, Viera, FL 32940

Registration Deadline: Anyone submitting a request after August 26th may address the Delegation by completing a public comment card, which will be available at the meeting on September 7th.

Palm Beach County

Time: 2:00 pm – 5:00pm

Location: Scripps Research Institute, 130 Scripps Way, Jupiter, FL

 

Registration Deadline: To be placed on the official agenda of a Delegation hearing, presenters must have completed a Participation Request Form (a copy of which is enclosed in the PDF attached) and have submitted all printed materials to the delegation office 5 business days prior to the scheduled hearing. 25 copies of printed material should be submitted to be included in Members’ Hearing files.

 

Thursday, September 8, 2011

St. Lucie County

Time: 9:00 am

Location: Indian River State College, Kight Center for Emerging Technologies, 3209 Virginia Avenue, Fort Pierce, FL 34981

Registration Deadline: To be placed on the agenda, please return the attached form and 8 copies of all handouts and other information by 12:00 pm on Thursday September 1, 2011.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Hardee County

Time: 2:00 pm

Location: Hardee County Commissioner’s Chambers, Room 102, of the Hardee County Courthouse Annex Building, 412 West Orange Street, Wauchula, FL 33873

Registration Deadline: If you would like to be placed on the agenda to speak, please contact Representative Ben Albritton’s District Secretary, Karen Whaley at 863-534-0073 no later than 12:00 pm on Wednesday, September 7, 2011.  Five (5) copies of all handouts and other information for delegation members must be received by Representative Albritton’s District Office at Post Office Box 1966, Bartow, Florida 33831 by Wednesday, September 7, 2011 or may be hand delivered to 206 North 6th Avenue, Wauchula, Florida 33873.

Highlands County

Time: 9:30 am

Location:Highlands County Government Center, 600 South Commerce Avenue, Sebring, Florida 33870

Registration Deadline: If you would like to be placed on the agenda to speak, please contact Representative Ben Albritton’s District Secretary, Karen Whaley, at 863-534-0073 no later than 12:00 pm on Wednesday, September 7, 2011. Six (6) copies of all handouts and other information for delegation members must be received by Representative Albritton’s District Office at Post Office Box 1966, Bartow, Florida 33831 by Wednesday, September 7, 2011  or may be hand delivered to 150 North Central Avenue in Bartow, Florida.

Pinellas County

Time: 9:00 am – 12:00 pm

Location: Pinellas Park Performing Arts Center, 4951 78th Ave, Pinellas Park, FL 33781
Registration Deadline: Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Monday, September 26, 2011

Pasco County

Time: 1:00 pm – 5:00 pm

Location: River Ridge High School, 11646 Town Center Road Port Richey, FL 34654

Registration: There is no registration form. If you are interested in speaking contact Representative Richard Corcoran’s District Secretary, Doris Graumann at (727) 816-1580 no later than 12:00 pm on Monday, September 19, 2011.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Hillsborough County

Time: 9:00 am

Location: Oval Theater in the  Marshall Student Center, University of South Florida, 4202 E. Fowler Avenue, Tampa, FL 33620

Registration Deadline: Monday, September 19, 2011

Marion County

Time: 1:00 pm – 6:00 pm

Location: College of Central Florida, Klein Center, 3001 SW College Rd, Ocala, FL 34474

Registration Deadline: Appearance/Comment cards should be returned to the office of Representative Baxley before September 12, 2011 to assure placement on the meeting agenda.  Cards can be mailed to 315 SE 25 Ave, Ocala, FL 34471, faxed to 352-732-1360, or emailed to Lorri Silvera, District Executive Secretary, District 24 at Lorri.Silvera@myfloridahouse.gov

Also, if you have handouts they need to be sent in by September 12, 2010 to the Ocala address above.  Please include nine (9) copies of any printed materials for the meeting.  The copies will be distributed to the Delegation Members at the meeting.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Indian River County

Time: 9:00 am

Location:Indian River County Board of County Commissioners, Commission Chambers. 1801 27th Street, Vero Beach 32960

Registration Deadline: In order to be placed on the agenda, all presenters must complete and return the attached Participation Request Form no later than Friday, September 16, 2011.

In order to have additional information included in the members’ notebooks, please provide 5 copies to the address below no later than Friday September 23, 2011.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Martin County

According to the office, because the hearing is still a month away the information is not being released. I will post this as soon as I receive the information.

 

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IMMIGRANT RESISTANCE MOVES GOVERNMENT TO REVIEW DEPORTATION PRIORITIES, IMPACT STILL UNCLEAR

19 Aug

Move by Obama Administration positive sign, but impact still unclear

Miami, FL – Florida’s immigrants and advocates see yesterday’s announcement by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), that it would review the cases of 300,000 persons currently in removal proceedings, as a step in the right direction. However, they assert that much is still unknown about the criteria DHS will use in this process and caution the immigrant community that many deserving persons will still face deportation.

“We are cautiously optimistic about the relief this may bring to thousands of families facing separation,” says Maria Rodriguez, Executive Director for the Florida Immigrant Coalition. “This is a testament to the power of community organizing and the remarkable resilience of those most affected by this criminalizing system.”

Julio Calderon, an undocumented student leader of Students Working for Equal Rights (SWER), who is currently facing deportation, said, “I feel we may be given a second chance and all I hope for is that this promise is fulfilled. We simply don’t understand why Obama had to wait until there were 1 million deported to take this step, and we will continue fighting until all immigrants are not seen as criminals and are valued and respected.”

Immigrant rights advocates note that the administration in essence announced a process to implement ICE director John Morton’s June 2011 statement that ICE would begin exercising “prosecutorial discretion.”

“The devil is in the details and there is still much ambiguity as to how the process will be carried out,” says Jonathan Fried from WeCount! For example, the administration has not said that it will dismiss removal proceedings for all persons without criminal records. So far it seems it will only apply to those who meet other criteria such ashaving come here as a child, being a victim or witness of a crime, or having a serious health problem or disability.

“Moreover,” Fried added, “what will happen with those that were detained only for driving without a license in a state like Florida where it is considered a crime? Will they still be deported for having a criminal background?”

“We believe that the Obama administration can do even more,” says Rodriguez. “If the intention is to focus enforcement efforts on those who are adanger to our communities or who have committed violent crimes, the administration should broadly apply prosecutorial discretion. It also must end dragnet programs such as ‘Secure Communities’ that are creating this crisis in deportations.”

RESISTENCIA DE INMIGRANTES EMPUJA AL GOBIERNO A REVISAR PRIORIDADES EN DEPORTACIONES, IMPACTO INCIERTO

19 Aug

El cambio sugerido por la administración de Obama es una señal positiva, pero su impacto es aún incierto


Miami, FL – Los inmigrantes y defensores de sus derechos en la Florida ven el anuncio realizado ayer por el Departamento de Seguridad Nacional (DHS, por sus siglas en inglés), según el cual revisará los casos de 300.000 personas que actualmente están en proceso de deportación, como una señal positiva. Sin embargo, afirman que queda mucho por descubrir acerca de los criterios que DHS usará en este proceso y advierten a la comunidad inmigrante que todavía muchas personas seguirán enfrentándose a la deportación.

“Estamos cautelosamente optimistas sobre el alivio que esto puede traer a miles de familias que enfrentan la separación causada por las deportaciones”, dice María Rodríguez, Directora Ejecutiva de la Coalición de Inmigrantes de la Florida. “Este cambio es testimonio del poder de la comunidad y de la notable resistencia de los más afectados por este sistema que insiste en criminalizarlos”.

Julio Calderón, un líder estudiantil indocumentado de Estudiantes Trabajando por la Igualdad de Derechos (SWER), quien enfrenta actualmente un proceso de deportación, dijo, “siento que esto nos puede dar una segunda oportunidad y lo único que espero es que esta promesa se cumpla. Simplemente no entiendo por qué Obama tuvo que esperar hasta que hubiera 1.000.000 de deportados para dar este paso, y vamos a seguir luchando hasta que todos los inmigrantes no sean vistos como criminales, y sean valorados y respetados”.

Los defensores de los derechos de los inmigrantes notan que, en esencia, la administración anunció un proceso de implementación de la declaración que hiciera en junio el Director de ICE(Oficina de Inmigración y Aduanas), John Morton, acerca de que los agentes de inmigración podrían comenzar aplicar la “discreción de juicio” sobre cada caso.

“El diablo está en los detalles y todavía hay mucha ambigüedad en cuanto a cómo el proceso se llevará a cabo”, dice Jonathan Fried de WeCount! Por ejemplo, la administración no ha dicho que va a derogar el proceso de deportación para todas las personas sin antecedentes penales. Hasta el momento parece que sólo se aplicará a aquellos que cumplen con otros criterios tales como haber llegado a temprana edad, ser una víctima o testigo de un crimen, o tener un grave problema de salud o discapacidad.

“Además”, añadió Fried, “¿qué pasará con aquellos que fueron detenidos sólo por conducir sin una licencia en un estado como Florida, donde es considerado un delito? ¿Seguirán siendo deportados por tener antecedentes penales?”

“Creemos que el gobierno de Obama puede hacer aún más”, dice Rodríguez. “Si la intención es concentrar los esfuerzos de inmigración en aquellos que son un peligro paranuestras comunidades o que han cometido delitos violentos, la administración en general debe aplicar una ‘discreción de juicio’ . También se debe poner fin a programas como el de Comunidades Seguras (S-Comm) que están creando esta crisis en las deportaciones”.

Obama: End S-Comm now!

16 Aug

Latinos in Miami protest Obama’s massive deportation program. Thousands rally nationwide. 

Today, we held a rally at the Miami-Dade county Democratic Party headquarters as part of a National Day of Action against ICE’s so-called “Secure Communities” (S-Comm) deportation program. Thousands also rallied in 9 other cities like Los Angeles, Chicago, Nashville, Charlotte and Boston.

Immigrants in the US, especially Latinos, find outraging that over 1 million immigrants have been deported under President Obama’s watch, the largest amount of deportations in American history.

We delivered a copy of a national authoritative report, made public today, condemning S-Comm and recommending its termination.

The report – Restoring Community: A National Community Advisory Report on ICE’s Failed “Secure Communities” Program – shows the reality of what S-Comm is causing in our communities: encourages racial profiling, criminalizes immigrants, affect police-community relations and separates families.

Victims of Secure Communities are featured in this report, and three of them are from South Florida. Like Reina, whose husband was deported just two months ago from Miami-Dade County after being stopped for a minor traffic violation, leaving her and her US-citizen children behind. She was present today at the rally and shared her story with us and the media. After loosing her husband, Reina has to work harder to sustain her family, but she is afraid of driving or asking for job because she might end up arrested and deported. “What would happen to my children? Who will take care of them then”, said Reina.

Together with SWER, We Count, NDLON and Presente.org, we delivered over 35,000 petitions (including 1,500 Floridians) asking President Obama to STOP S-Comm now!

Take a look at more pictures from our action today here

Florida Local Legislative Delegation Public Hearings 2011

8 Aug

Alachua County

Delegation Contact Person:  Michelle Sherfield Mailing Address: 3141 NW 13th St Gainesville, FL 32609 Telephone: 352-955-3083 Fax: 352-955-3085

Public Hearing Date/Location : Tentative – October 26 or 27

Deadline to Register : Need to follow-up

Brevard County

Delegation Contact Person: Bethany Iliff

Mailing Address: 33 Suntree Pl, Suite D Melbourne, FL 32940 Telephone: (321) 757-7019 Fax: (321) 757-7021

Public Hearing Date/Location : Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Brevard County Commission Chambers 2725 Judge Fran Jamieson Way, Building C, Viera, FL 32940

Deadline to Register : To Register to Speak: To be placed on the agenda to address the delegation, please send a written request to bethany.iliff@myfloridahouse.gov  by 5:00 PM on Friday, August 26th. Please include the following information in your request:

 Name and Title

 Organization

 Address

 City/State/Zip

 Telephone  Email

 Topic for discussion

To Submit Materials: To have printed information included, please send it to Representative Workman’s Office no later than 5:00 PM on Friday, August 26th. It is suggested that the information be presented on organization letterhead and that it include any of the following information that is available:

– Legislative topic

– Briefly state the issue

– Identify existing legislation by statute number

– Indicate changes to existing law or provide a legislative proposal

– Provide statistical information pertaining to the issue (state and local)

– Costs associated with the issue or project

– Names of legislators or local officials that are already supporting the issue

– List known groups, coalitions, associations, lobbyists, etc., that support or oppose the project or issue

This is optional but encouraged. Please limit responses to two pages. If you will be providing materials, please provide 15 copies of three-hole punched sets to Representative Workman’s office no later than Friday, August 26th for inclusion in the legislators’ notebooks and for public records. When the agenda is finalized, it will be emailed to all speakers and the Delegation Offices. Anyone submitting a request after August 26th may address the Delegation by completing a public comment card, which will be available at the meeting on September 7th. Rep. Workman’s office address: 33 Suntree Pl, Suite D Melbourne, FL 32940 Telephone: (321) 757-7019

Broward County

Delegation Contact Person: Sandy Harris, Executive Director

Mailing Address: 115 S Andrews Ave, Room 429 Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301 Telephone: (954) 357-6555 Fax: (954) 357-6041

Delegation Web site: http://www.broward.org/legislative/Pages/Default.aspx

Public Hearing Date/Location : Education and Cultural Affairs Monday, October 10, 2011, 4:00 pm – 7:00 p.m. Collins Elementary School 1050 NW 2nd Street Dania Beach, FL 33004

Transportation, Economic Development, Environment & Growth Management Monday, November 7, 2011, 4:00 pm – 7:00 p.m. Junior Achievement of South Florida, Inc. (Broward College Campus) 1130 Coconut Creek Blvd. Coconut Creek, FL 33066

Juvenile Justice / Criminal Justice Constitutional Officers Wednesday, November 30, 2011, 4:00 pm – 7:00 p.m. E. Pat Larkins Center 540 Martin Luther King Blvd. Pompano Beach, FL 33060

Deadline to Register.- According to the staffer: Individuals interested in speaking on the issue of Immigration should register for the Transportation, Economic Development, Environment and Growth Management Public Hearing.

Members of the public and representatives of organizations are entitled to address the Delegation at the public hearing appropriate to their subject matter. Click on the Speaker’s Form to sign up to speak. The completed form will automatically be forwarded to the Delegation office. Please have this form to the Delegation Office at least two (2) business days prior to the hearing. In addition, you may sign up at the hearing.

Link for Speaker Form: http://www.broward.org/Legislative/Pages/PresentationForm.aspx

Citrus County

Contact People: Chase Daniels or Dawn Faherty Mailing Address: 591 E Gulf to Lake Highway Lecanto, FL 34461 Telephone: (352) 560-6020 Fax: (352) 560-6022

Thursday, October 13, 2011 2:00 pm – 5:00 pm at Inverness County Commissioner Chamber – 110 N. Apopka Ave, Inverness, FL 34450

Deadline to Register :Wednesday, October 5, 2011 at Noon

Collier County

Contact Person: Sheila Jackson Mailing Address: 3301 Tamiami Trail E, Suite 212, Bldg F Naples, FL 34112 Telephone: (239) 417-6270 Fax: Please send e-mail Delegation e-mail address: matt.hudson@myfloridahouse.gov

Thursday, August 18, 2011 9:00 am–11:00 am IFAS Auditorium in Immokalee, located at 2685 State Road 29 N, Immokalee, FL 34142 Reconvene at 2:00 pm until the completion of the agenda City Council Chamber, City Hall, located at 735 8th Street South, Naples, FL 34102 *Please notice the change in location

Deadline to Register : Friday, July 29, 2011 at Noon

Duval County

Contact Person: Susan Stewart, Coordinator Mailing Address: 117 W Duval St, Suite 225 Jacksonville, FL 32202 Telephone: (904) 630-1680 Fax: (904) 630-2074 Delegation e-mail address: sstewart@coj.net

Tentative- October 24, 2011 2:00 pm – Public Hearing December 1, 2011 2pm – Local bill hearing

Deadline to Register : Need to follow-up

Hillsborough County

Contact People: Catherine Frazer Mailing Address: 4250 S Florida Ave, Suite 4 Lakeland, FL 33813 Telephone: (863) 647-4896 Fax: (863) 647-4898 Delegation Web site: http://www.hillsboroughcounty.org/legislativedelegation/

Tuesday, September 27, 2011 – 9:00 am Oval Theater in the Marshall Student Center University of South Florida 4202 E. Fowler Avenue, Tampa, FL Link for Request To Speak General Issues Form:

http://www.hillsboroughcounty.org/legislativedelegation/resources/publications/agenda/2011/2011HillsboroughReqTospeakGENERALISSUES.pdf

Deadline to Register :Monday, September 19, 2011

Indian River County

Contact Person: Dustin Paulson Mailing Address: 1053 20th Pl Vero Beach, FL 32960 Telephone: (772) 778-5077 Fax: (772) 778-7210 Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Deadline to Register :Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Lee County

Contact Person: Paige Biagi Mailing Address: 3501 Del Prado Blvd #305 Cape Coral, FL 33904 Telephone: (239) 344-4900 Fax: (239) 344-4901 Delegation Web site: http://leecountylegislativedelegation.weebly.com/ Tuesday, November 8, 2011 9:00 am at Edison State College – Lee Campus 8099 College Parkway Fort Myers, FL 33919

Deadline to Register :Check website next week

Leon County

Contact Person: Judy Wells Mailing Address: 415 Tompkins St Inverness, FL 34450 Telephone: (352) 860-5175 Fax: (352) 860-5177

Need to follow-up

Need to follow-up

Manatee County

Contact Person:   Cheryl Ennis Mailing Address: 3653 Cortez Rd W, Suite 90 Bradenton, FL 34210 Telephone: (941) 727-6349 Fax: (941) 727-6351

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Thursday, October 20, 2011 at 5:00 pm

8:00 am– 12:00 pm

Manatee County Commission Chambers – 112 Manatee Avenue West, Bradenton, FL 34205

Marion County

Contact People: Debbie Dennis or Lorri Silvera Mailing Address: 315 SE 25th Ave Ocala, FL 34471 Telephone: (352) 732-1313 Fax: (352) 732-1360

Tentative- September 8th

Deadline to Register :Need to follow-up

Martin County

Contact Person: Holly Demers Mailing Address: 3500 SW Corporate Pkwy, Suite 204 Palm City, FL 34990 Telephone: (772) 219-1665 Fax: (772) 219-1666

Friday, September 30, 2011

Deadline to Register : Not available

Miami-Dade County

Contact Person: Alex Dominguez, Director Mailing Address: 111 NW 1st St, Suite 1032 Miami, FL 33128 Telephone: (305) 375-5600 Fax: (305) 375-5639 Delegation Web site: http://www.miamidade.gov/dadedelegation Delegation e-mail address: aad@miamidade.gov

Monday, August 1, 2011 City of Miami City Hall, Council Chamber, 3500 Pan American Drive, Miami, FL 33133 9:30am Wednesday, August 10, 2011 City of Miami City Hall, Council Chamber, 3500 Pan American Drive, Miami, FL 33133 9:30am

Registration Forms: Monday, July 25, 2011 Materials: Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Orange County

Contact People: Ryan Smith or Helen Franta Mailing Address: 2460 N Courtenay Pkwy Merritt Island, FL 32953 Telephone: (321) 449-5111 Fax: (321) 449-5113 Delegation Web site: http://www.ocfl.net/YourLocalGovernment/LegislativeDelegation/PublicHearingNotices/tabid/274/Default.aspx Tentative – October 24 Has my e-mail and will send me the information once its available

 Osceola County

Contact Person: Rose Hernandez Mailing Address: 323 Pleasant St Kissimmee, FL 34741 Telephone: (407) 943-3077 Fax: (407) 943-3078

Tentative – October26

Need to follow-up

Palm Beach County

Contact Person: Rachael Ondrus Merlan Mailing Address: 301 N Olive Ave, Suite 1101.11 W Palm Beach, FL 33401 Telephone: (561) 355-2406 Fax: (561) 242-7171 Delegation Web site: http://www.PalmBeachDelegation.com Delegation e-mail address: rondrus@pbcgov.org Wednesday, September 7, 2011 2:00 pm – 5:00pm Scripps Research Institute 130 Scripps Way, Jupiter Thursday, December 1, 2011 2:00pm – 5:00pm Palm Beach Atlantic University 901 South Flagler Drive, West Palm Beach

Pasco County

Contact Person: Giovanni Casanova Mailing Address: 8217 Massachusetts Ave New Port Richey, FL 34653-3111 Telephone: (727) 848-5885 Fax: (727) 841-4453 Monday, September 26, 2011 River Ridge High School 11646 Town Center Road Port Richey, FL 34654 Time not set Need to follow-up

Pinellas County

Contact Person: Sue Berfield Mailing Address: 125 Indian Rocks Rd N, Suite A Belleair Bluffs, FL 33770 Telephone: (727) 518-3902 Fax: (727) 518-3904 Pinellas Park Performing Arts Center 4951 78th Ave Pinellas Park, FL 33781

Wednesday, September 14, 2011 9:00 am– 12:00 pm

Need to follow-up

Polk County

Contact Person: Patty Harrison Mailing Address: 201 W Central Ave Lake Wales, FL 33853 Telephone: (863) 679-4847 Fax: (863) 679-4851 Monday, October 10, 2011. Polk BOCC Chambers 9:00 am–6:00 pm 330 West Church Street Bartow, FL 33830-376

Deadline to Register : Two weeks before the hearing Monday, September 26, 2011

Sarasota County

Contact Person: Carol Carlson Mailing Address: 8486 S. Tamiami Trail Sarasota, FL 34238 Telephone: (941) 918-4028 Fax: (941) 918-4030 Tentative – November 7

Seminole County

Contact Person: Valerie Clark Mailing Address: 251 Maitland Ave, Suite 304 Altamonte Springs, FL 32701 Need to follow-up Need to follow-up

Telephone: (407) 262-7578 Fax: (407) 262-7580 Delegation e-mail address: Clarke.Valerie.s22@FLsenate.gov

St. Johns County

Contact Person: Darla Kubacki Mailing Address: 9485 Regency Square Blvd, Suite 108 Jacksonville, FL 32225-8145 Telephone: (904) 727-3600 Fax: (904) 727-3603 Delegation e-mail address: kubacki.darla.s08@FLsenate.gov Tentative – October13 4:00 pm – 6:00 pm St. Johns Commission Chamber – 500 San Sebastian View, St. Augustine, FL. 32084

Deadline to Register : Pending

St. Lucie County

Contact Person: Nicole Fogarty Mailing Address: 2212 SW Veterans Memorial Pkwy Port St. Lucie, FL 34952 Telephone: (772) 398-2786 Fax: (772) 398-2788 Thursday, September 8, 2011 Need to follow-up Sumter County Contact People: Joshua Blake or Dana Coleman

Need to follow-up

Need to follow-up

Sumter County

Contact People: Joshua Blake or Dana Coleman Mailing Address: 916 Avenida Central Lady Lake, FL 32159 Telephone: (352) 315-4445 Fax: (352) 315-4447

Need to follow-up

Need to follow-up

Volusia County

Contact Person: Darla Kubacki Mailing Address: 9485 Regency Square Blvd, Suite 108 Jacksonville, FL 32225-8145 Telephone: (904) 727-3600 Fax: (904) 727-3603 Delegation e-mail address: kubacki.darla.s08@FLsenate.gov Wednesday, October 12, 2011 10:00 am – 2:00 pm Deland City Hall Commission Chamber 120 S. Florida Avenue DeLand, FL 32720

About a week before the hearing or a Speaker Card

Immigration activists and Southwest Broward residents continue to voice their opposition to the possibility of building one of the nation’s largest immigration detention center to Southwest Ranches.

5 Aug

By Laura Figueroa  lfigueroa@MiamiHerald.com

The hot bed issue of immigration now finds itself front-and-center in the 13-square mile suburb of Southwest Ranches.

Plans to build one of the nation’s largest immigration detention centers in the rustic Southwest Broward county town has riled up residents and activists alike.

An overflow crowd of some 70 people showed up at Thursday’s Southwest Ranches Town Council meeting to raise their concerns about the plan to build an 1,800 bed facility along U.S. 27.

Residents of Southwest Ranches and neighboring Pembroke Pines and Weston who spoke at the meeting were split on the need for the facility.

For those clinging to the the rural-like feel of the area where horse trails wind through communities of multimillion dollar homes, the detention facility represents a “security threat” which they fear will bring down property values.

“I moved out here because I thought I would be right up against the Everglades, not a prison,” said Betsy Blume, a Pembroke Pines resident who spoke at the meeting.

Still, some long time residents spoke in favor of the project noting it could bring an economic boost to the town’s coffers.

For immigration activists, green-lighting the facility brings concerns that the federal government is prioritizing the expansion of the country’s detention and deportation programs, and not on passing immigration reform laws that would legalize the status of undocumented immigrants.

“This is a costly and inefficient way of dealing with the situation of immigration,” said Kathy Bird, organizer for the Florida Immigrant Coalition.

The group presented a petition with more 150 signatures to the the town to reconsider its involvement in the project.

In June, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials announced that they had entered into negotiations with Southwest Ranches to build the facility on a 24-acre stretch of land.

Though negotiations still continue, and no deal has been finalized, the town was initially competing against Florida City in Miami-Dade and Belle Glade in Palm Beach, for the right to negotiate.

With room for 1,800 beds, the center would be one of the U.S.’s largest immigration holding quarters. The Krome Service Processing Center in South Dade holds 581 beds and the Broward Transitional Center in Pompano Beach has the capacity for 700 detainees.

The center would be run by the Corrections Corporation of America, a private corrections management service, that currently owns the land where the ICE is eying in Southwest Ranches, an area west of Southwest 196th Avenue between Sheridan Street and Stirling Road.

Several of the town’s long time residents noted that its too late to designate the property for any other project, because the land was sold to CCE and zoned to be a correctional facility by Broward county, long before Southwest Ranches incorporated in 2000.

“Their concern is immigration,” said resident Vince Falletta at the meeting, speaking about the activist groups. “My concern is Southwest Ranches and what CCA could develop for our income since our budget is kind of lean.”

Southwest Ranches stands to benefit financially from having the facility within its borders. In 2005, the town inked a deal with CCA that offered the town a percentage of money per detainee held at the facility. However, to enter into the deal Southwest Ranches also has to commit $150,000 of town money annually once the facility is built.

“The town should not be in the business of profitting off of suffering and the separation of families,” said Bird.

Thursday’s meeting, came on the heels of a July 16 rally at Sawgrass Community Church that drew more than 150 locals opposed to the project. Residents from neighboring Pembroke Pines and Weston have also expressed concerns about the project’s proximity to their homes.

ICE officials say its too soon to comment on the facility’s impact on the community, because negotiations with the town are still ongoing.

“At this time, ICE and Southwest Ranches continue to work through the details of this tentative selection,” said ICE spokesman Nestor Yglesias. “If and when a formal selection occurs, the appropriate notifications will be made.”

Read more: http://www.miamiherald.com/2011/08/04/2345923/opposition-grows-for-proposed.html#ixzz1UBK5UOY9

Opposition keeps growing against immigration detention center in Broward

4 Aug

MEDIA ADVISORY: Thursday, August 4th, 2011

MEDIA CONTACT: Natalia Jaramillo (786) 317-3524

 

Opposition keeps growing against immigration detention center in Broward

Residents from Southwest Ranches, Pembroke Pines and Weston to demand answers at Town Council Meeting

What:             Press Conference and Town Council Meeting, Southwest Ranches

When:            Thursday, August 4th

                        Press Conference at 6:30 pm

                        Town Council Meeting at 7:00 pm

Where:          Southwest Ranches Town Hall, 6591 SW 160 Avenue, Southwest Ranches, FL 33331

 Why:             As the time nears for a definite approval to build a private immigration detention center in Southwest Ranches, concern among residents keeps growing. On July 16, over 150 residents converged Sawgrass Community Church to express their opposition. And this Thursday, August 4th, residents will attend the Southwest Ranches Town Council meeting hoping to receive a response to so many unanswered questions and deliver a petition against the detention center.

“Many residents have approached their elected officials asking for explanations without any result. The Town Council members respond that they are under a cone of silence and told residents to call Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) for information,” says Kathy Bird, organizer for the Florida Immigrant Coalition.

The detention center will be one of the largest in the country, with up to 1,800 beds. It will be built and run by Corrections Corporation of America (CCA), the largest private prison company in the nation.  CCA makes billions in profits by contracting with ICE to run detention facilities. CCA signed a contract with Southwest Ranches in 2005 to bring a private prison to Southwest Broward.  This deal mandates that the Town of Southwest Ranch pay CCA $150,000 per year, and in return receive a percentage for every immigrant detained.

“If the town has already signed, they should be able to respond the inquiries from the area residents,” continues Bird.

In a preliminary phone survey* completed by 229 residents of Southwest Ranches, 89% (203) did not agree with having a detention center in their community.

Residents from Pembroke Pines are also joining the voices of opposition, and have been invited to attend the Town Council meeting this coming Thursday. The detention center will not only be visible from their homes, but it will also use their streets, fire department, water and sewer. Officials from Pembroke Pines and Southwest Ranches have already signed agreements earlier this year for Pembroke Pines to provide these services to the proposed detention site which is located adjacent to them.

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*The survey was coordinated by the Florida Immigrant Coalition