Miami Heat’s star, Udonis Haslem, “extremely upset” about Immigration Prison in South Florida
Last week, Miami native basketball star and a forward for the Miami Heat, sent a letter to the Town Council of Southwest Ranches expressing his opposition to their plans of building a massive immigration detention center in the area. This immigration prison will be one of the largest in the country, with capacity for at least 1,500 beds, and it is one of six new immigration detention centers in the government’s plan to expand the capacity for immigrant detention.
“I am extremely upset that you are under talks with CCA Corporation and the Department of Homeland Security…” writes Haslem, who has been living in Southwest Ranches with his family since 2007. “I do not support this in anyway and hope that this project does not happen.”
The letter was sent via e-mail to Residents Against ICE Southwest Ranches Detention Center last Thursday in the afternoon, and was hand-delivered by Haslem’s Aunt to the Town Council later that evening when the residents were gathered in hundreds to protest the prison.
“Haslem’s letter shows the magnitude of the opposition to this prison. Mayor Jeff Nelson, Town Council and Town Attorney Keith Poliakoff have tried to ignore us, marginalize us or even say we are not that many. Are they going to say the same to a public figure like Haslem?” asks Bill Di Scipio, a resident from Southwest Ranches. “Many residents like Haslem have paid millions to live here with their families. Is our Mayor trying to scare those residents away while selling all of us to a private prison company that profits millions from our taxes?”
Despite the growing opposition against the detention center, the elected officials involved directly or indirectly with this project keep ignoring their constituents’ requests to stop it. SWR Mayor, Jeff Nelson, continues negotiating with CCA and ICE. Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Senator Bill Nelson have failed to withdraw their letter of support.
As if that weren’t enough, last week, Pembroke Pines Mayor and Commissioner approved a controversial agreement to provide water and sewer to the CCA facility after inserting the item to the agenda at the very last minute giving very little time for public notice.