Hundreds protest proposed ICE detention center in Elkhart County

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(Photo supplied/ABC 57)

Elkhart County residents made their voices heard Thursday night about a proposed Immigrations and Customs Enforcement Facility in their own backyard.

Hundreds gathered at Concord Junior High School Thursday night to rally against the proposed center. CoreCivic plans on submitting an application with the county in January to build the facility. Protesters say it’ll hurt their community, where over half of students at Elkhart County schools are Hispanic.

“I think it’s devastating. I think it’s really dangerous for our community. I think it puts a third of our population, at least in Goshen, at risk, and people who have been productive members of our society and regardless of the economic impact they have in our community, they’re valid members of our country and our community,” Dominique Chew, who lives and works in Goshen, told ABC 57.

Others had a different reason for why the facility is a bad idea.

“This is the byproduct of a broken immigration system, and we should be investing more into fixing the immigration system that we have heard the last four presidents say is a broken immigration system,” said Immigration Education Coordinator for the Mennonite Central Committee, Saulo Padilla.

Some members of the County Commission were present to answer questions and explain that the decision isn’t as easy as opponents think it is. Commissioners like Mike Yoder:

“There’s this set of facts, which are factual, and there’s also some additional information that I’m taking a look at, that counters some of this information…We start with the principle of the law and the rules, and then it’s the role of the legislative body, the county commissioners, to say how far do we step away from that, for the benefit, the good of the community?” said Yoder.

Once the application is submitted, the Tech Committee of the Elkhart County Planning Commission will review it. Then, the full Planning Commission will look at it and have a public review. If it’d passed, it would then go to the full Elkhart County Commission for final approval.

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