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Hobart mayor: Firm says no immediate plans for immigration detention center



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Updated: January 6, 2014 1:18PM

HOBART — Mayor Brian Snedecor said Wednesday he called The GEO Group after last month’s City Council meeting to inform the Florida-based company that an immigrant detention center was not well received at the meeting and was again assured the company has no immediate plans for the former St. Sava Serbian Orthodox Church property.

Snedecor made the announcement at Wednesday’s City Council meeting after resident Tom DuBois asked if he has had any discussion with The GEO Group since the last meeting, at which several residents spoke against having an immigrant detention center in the city.

“I had one communication. I let them know an immigrant center was not well received at the council meeting. They were aware of it. They said they have no plans to do anything with the property. They said they have no proposal,” Snedecor said.

“It’s up to them now,” Snedecor said of the Boca Raton-based builder of prisons and immigrant detention centers, which purchased the former St. Sava property without a contingency.

DuBois, who has been attending meetings of people opposed to an immigrant detention center, pointed out that the company had purchased property in Louisiana and is now operating an immigrant detention center there.

Snedecor and council members have said any proposal made by The GEO Group would have to go through the proper regulatory channels and public hearings.

City officials have said they have yet to receive a proposal from the company, although Snedecor did say at the last meeting that the company mentioned some interest in setting up courtrooms in the Chicago area, where hearings would take place to determine the immigration status of an individual and whether that individual should return to their community or be be deported.

He said immigrants would stay no more than 28 days, according to GEO officials.

However, a request for information issued last year by the Department of Homeland Security, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, seeks to identify potential properties in the Greater Chicago area to both process and house immigrant detainees.

The ideal facility, according to the request for information, “will provide both medium to maximum security case beds and low to minimum security case beds that is designed and operated to process and house adult detainees, including the full range of criminal and non-criminal cases.”

The request for information, according to ICE, is issued solely for information and planning purposes and does not constitute a request for proposal or a commitment for an request for proposal in the future.

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