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Letter: No ICE center for Pine Island

We encourage you to take a stand against proposed Immigration and Customs Enforcement Detention Center in Pine Island. This possible project would be built and run by Management and Training Corp. The Pine Island City Council has passed a resolution saying that it is willing to explore hosting an ICE Detention Center with MTC. We believe this is the wrong direction for our region.

MTC has a poor reputation as an employer (including paying substandard wages), as a community partner and in treatment of detainees. The state of Arizona has terminated its contracts with MTC due to repeated violations of policies, prisoners and detainees under its care; MTC also runs private prisons. MTC has been forced to close detention centers for their unhealthy conditions and more. Is this the type of business partner we want in our region?

Additionally, we must ask ourselves if an ICE detention center is a good business decision. While the current administration has a policy of arresting and deporting those here illegally, there is no guarantee that future administrations will continue this course. If future administrations were to adopt a different policy, more than likely the proposed detention center would close and the 200 or so jobs that are tied to it would disappear. To say that this detention center would produce an economic boom for our region is shortsighted.

Finally, we encourage you to explore the ethical issues of having an ICE detention center in our region, focusing on what this project would mean to our immigrant brothers and sisters. Immigrants make up a significant percentage of our agricultural, hospitality and medical industries. Having a detention center would not be a welcoming sign nor does it represent the values we share. Does a detention center in our region express hope, acceptance and support?

We support safety, we support safe borders, and we support economic development. However, we cannot support this proposed project. We encourage our neighbors throughout southeastern Minnesota to speak out against the possible building of a detention center in our region. Let us focus on building a community that unites us, that welcomes the stranger, and that celebrates one another.

Goodhue County Area Friends of Immigrants

Dianne Aisenbrey

Williams Ortiz Arizmendi

Robert Brodie.

Lisa Dankers

Rick DeVoe

Carol Duff

The Rev. Tristan English

Debra Gerads Brodie

John L. Goeppinger

Susan Johnson

Jane Lorentzen

Zoe Malinochoc

Bruce McBeath

Nancy McCleary

Marilyn Nelson

Kim Newman

Neal Newman

Helene Olson-Reed

Kris Richards

Larry Sonnek

Dave Swinarski

Dee Swinarski

Elizabeth Witt

Red Wing

Lynne Staker

Frontenac

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