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Company proposing a new immigrant detention facility in Ionia, presented their case before the Ionia City Council earlier this week

January 10, 2019

In October, it was first reported that a proposed immigration detention center might be coming to Ionia. We wrote about this on the same day, in an article entitled, Proposal for new immigration detention facility in Ionia indicates an increase in ICE activity in Michigan

The proposal comes from the Immigration Centers of America (ICA), which was founded in 2008 and provides detention and transportation services for the US Department of Homeland Security. Their Farmville Detention Facility in Virginia, is often cited as a shinning example of the kind of services they offer to Homeland Security. 

On Wednesday, WOOD TV8 ran a follow up story about the proposed immigration detention center in Ionia, after a lawyer representing the company that plans to build the facility, had presented their case before the Ionia City Council on Tuesday. 

The channel 8 story is worth examining. First, there are three different perspectives provided; the lawyer representing ICA, the Mayor of Ionia and the executive director of Migrant Legal Aid, which opposes the need for a new detention facility.

We checked the City of Ionia Commission meeting agenda for January 8, but there is no  mention of the detention center proposal on the agenda and the minutes from that meeting have not as of yet been posted. 

In the WOOD TV 8 story, it states, “ICE made a presentation to the Ionia City Council Tuesday evening. No residents made statements.” We assume that the presentation was given by the lawyer representing ICA, but we won’t know for sure until the minutes from that meeting are posted.

In that same channel 8 story, Dennis Muchmore, the lawyer representing ICA, was quoted as saying, “No one wants to be detained, but these people are not criminals. They are just in the country illegally.” This is an interesting admission and it contradicts how the Department of Homeland Security frames why immigrants are being detained and deported.

At the very end if the story, Muchmore states, “Will a detention center be built? The answer is yes. Will it be built in Ionia? No one knows whether it will be built in Ionia or some other community.” This statement seems to reflect that the proposed detention facility in Ionia is not a done deal and that ICA might have proposals for a detention facility in other states.

Once the Ionia City Council minutes for the January 8th meeting are posted, we will provide an update on this story. In addition, there will be a statewide gathering soon of people who plan to organize and prevent this proposed immigration detention facility from happening.

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