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Another ICE Detention Facility is being proposed in Ionia by Immigration Centers of America

May 5, 2020

Within the last week, there have been articles from MLive and the Ionia Sentinel-Standard, about another proposal from Immigration Centers of America (ICA) to build an ICE detention facility in the Ionia area.

In October of 2018, ICA first proposed an ICE detention facility, using an old Ionia prison facility. However, after there was significant grassroots opposition across the state, specifically from the group No Detention Centers in Michigan, Gov. Whitmer denied ICA a permit to use state land.

Now, ICA is proposing to build a brand new ICE detention facility that could house up to 600 ICE detainees. The current proposal would use land that ICA would purchase from Jeffrey and Gloria Badder, land that is south of downtown Ionia and north of the Ionia County Airport.

According to MLive, ICE officials sent a letter to Ionia County officials, “seeking input on an environmental assessment for the site.” GRIID sent a request to the Ionia County Clerk, requesting a copy of this letter and is waiting a response.

According to the Ionia Sentinel-Standard, there are at least three of the seven Ionia County Commissioners that have given verbal approval of the new private ICE detention center in Ionia. The three commissioners who support the proposal are Jack Shattuck, Georgia Sharp and Scott Wirtz. All three of these commissioners are Republicans, as are all seven members of the Ionia County Board.

Commissioner Shattuck was quoted as saying, “I think it would be a huge asset for the county and community having that kind of opportunity made available.”  The County Board Chairman, David Hodges was quoted as saying about the proposal,  a downside would potentially be losing guards from the Ionia County Jail, but added “a little competition’s not a bad thing for the county.” They will be voting on the ICA proposal on Tuesday, May 12.

MLive also reported that ICA has John Truscott as their spokesperson on this proposal. Truscott is the former Press Secretary for Michigan Gov. John Engler, who co-founded the PR Firm of Truscott Rossman. Truscott Rossman got a contract in 2017 with the City of Grand Rapids and Engler hired Truscott in 2018 to do deal with MSU’s communications issues during the Larry Nassar sexual assault cases.

For those interested in being involved in organized resistance to detention centers in Michigan, GRIID encourages you to like the FB page for No Detention Centers in Michigan

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