More than 100 protesters gathered in Newton County, Indiana to stand in opposition of plans for an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detention center, but officials say the facility isn’t for ICE.
The coalition of protesters was organized by two Democratic candidates for local office. The group, No Roselawn Prison, met August 4 at a Baptist church to discuss plans to prevent the facility from developing, even though officials reaffirmed that ICE is not involved.
— Linda Daniels (@lindalu245) August 4, 2018
According to the Chicago Post Tribune, county officials denied a zoning change in July that would have allowed a prison to develop. However, officials overruled the zoning decision, allowing the land to be used by a government agency.
The overruled zoning decision set the protesters off.
Newton County attorney, Patrick Ryan, told the Post, “We are obviously aware of the excitement and turmoil surrounding the subject. Newton County has not received or approved any application for use (of any kind) on that parcel. No official action has been taken.”
Although officials denied that the facility will be used by ICE, protesters still continue to demonstrate.
The opposition began with a Change.org petition to stop the development. More than 1,700 people have signed onto the petition. Now, they are meeting and warning the community that the facility is going to be built.
Some of the opposition to the detention facility isn’t based on immigration, but rather the fact that landowners do not want any type of prison near their homes.
“I am against illegal immigration … I just don’t want this in my backyard,” said Kathy Mladenik, a resident of Newton County.
Clearly, ICE’s presence can draw hysteria that could harm the nearby area. Earlier last week, protesters near Nashville “occupied” a private jail with ties to ICE, handcuffing themselves to doors and preventing employees from accessing the building.