One of the country’s largest immigration detention centers could be built in Southwest Ranches, a suburb in Southwest Broward County, Florida, but opposition from immigration activists and local residents is putting heat on the proposed project, the Miami Herald reports.
A crowd of more than 70 people backed a recent town council meeting in Southwest Ranches to voice concerns over the building, which would house 1,800 people and take up a 24-acred stretch of land.
Many residents complained the prison would ruin the rural feel of their neighborhood, forcing them to trade beautiful horse trails and views of the Everglades for the scenery of an imposing prison.
Immigration activists were also against the project, stating the government’s building of yet another prison indicates the nation is more concerned with detention and deportation than much-needed immigration reform.
“This is a costly and inefficient way of dealing with the situation of immigration,” Kathy Bird, organizer for the Florida Immigration Coalition, said at the meeting.
Among the mayhem, some residents spoke in favor of the detention center, hoping it would bring a boost to the local economy.
According to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, there are more than 75 immigration detention facilities operating in the country.