Florida City bids for 2,300-bed immigration detention site
By Ashley Hopkins
Florida City is applying for a grant to build an up-to-2,300 bed, $150 million US Immigration and Customs Enforcement detention and correction facility that could create 300 construction and 600 permanent jobs.
Miami-Dade commissioners approved an emergency measure last week supporting the application with added bus service.
The multi-purpose detention center would house detainees who are either undergoing removal proceedings or awaiting removal from the US, said Ivan Ortiz-Delgado, a spokesperson for US Immigration and Customs Enforcement in an e-mail received Tuesday. The facility would hold both medium-security and non-criminal detainees.
According to Mr. Ortiz-Delgado, immigration officials are evaluating three proposals and will probably decide within 120 days. He said the agency is not expecting to receive additional proposals.
According to county documents, in order to service employees and visitors to the proposed facility, immigration officials have asked for public transportation service to the building.
As Broward and Palm Beach counties are competing for the center and since Miami-Dade Transit bus route 344 currently services a correction institute a mile from the proposed construction site, Commissioner Dennis Moss asked that the transit department extend service to the area should Immigration and Customs Enforcement approve the grant application.
"A $150 million project, 300 construction jobs and 600 permanent jobs is big for this community," Mr. Moss said.
Mr. Moss said the facility should be up and running within 18 to 24 months.
While in support of Mr. Moss's objective, Chairman Joe Martinez questioned whether transit would support extending services at an increased cost.
"I've been trying to get transit to extend a bus from 157th avenue to 162nd avenue and they told me that it costs too much money," he said, adding that the extension he requested would provide service to a wealth of residential, business and commercial facilities. "I'm always willing to help a colleague but I would like… a cost analysis."
While it did not list a specific funding requirement, according to county documents, extending route 344's service area "could be performed at a minimal cost."
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