The residents of a North Carolina town are fighting plans for a 50,000 square-foot immigration investigations center.
Residents of the town of Cary are working to block plans by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, to use a vacant grocery store to process and prosecute immigrants suspected of breaking laws or threatening national security.
Neighbors say they worry about bringing dangerous criminals into the community and the center's impact on property values. Federal officials have been quoted in published reports saying that the facility will house administrative offices as well as "secure areas" for temporarily detaining and questioning people. They stress, though, that no one will be held there overnight.
A town spokeswoman says citizens learned about the proposal from an anonymous flyer distributed last month.
Federal officials plan to be in Cary Thursday to answer the public's questions. A much smaller ICE facility has operated there for a decade.
The American Civil Liberties Union, meanwhile, has collected complaints about abuse of immigrants held at the Wake County Jail. The complaints allege being denied basic rights, as well as verbal and physical assaults.
"People not being told they could contact their consulate; people being forced to sign voluntary removal proceeding forms which is really significant and scary," said ACLU legal director Katy Parker, according to published reports.
Wake County Sheriff Donnie Harrison says the partnership with immigration officials passed an ICE inspection and that allegations of the misconduct came out of nowhere.
This is based on a story by The Associated Press.