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Hundreds protest possible Elkhart County ICE facility


GOSHEN, Ind. --- More than a hundred people spent the afternoon protesting the possibility of an immigration detention facility coming to Elkhart County.

Core Civic has picked the county to be the home of a potential ICE detention center. This is a move that many of the protestors on Saturday at the Elkhart County Courthouse said they do not want to happen.

“They’re not necessary,” said Damaris Alarcon, who lives in Elkhart County. “That’s just extra money being spent on programs that aren’t going to help the committee at all that could be better spent elsewhere.”

The county said no plans have been submitted to the commissioner’s office yet, but if the company gets something in by December, the Board of Commissioners could vote as early as January.

However, many people at the protest said the proposed ICE facility is the complete opposite of the county’s message of diversity and inclusivity.

“It doesn’t send a welcoming message,” said Nancy Flores, who’s with La Casa de Amistad. “People in Elkhart County need to understand the impact this will have on the economy, the health of the community, and the soul of the community.”

She said the most bizarre part about this is that her family had a farm right across from the proposed property lot for the facility on County Road 7. Flores said her grandparents, who owned the farm, would be horrified that the property across the street could possibly be used to imprison immigrants.

Speakers from Elkhart County HOPE, the Board of Commissioners, and local immigration lawyers rallied the group all afternoon.

“I think it’s a horrible idea,” said Pat Hackett, who’s running against Jackie Walorski for Indiana’s District 2 seat. “I think people need to call their representatives at every level of government voice their opposition and most importantly voice their solidarity with all people who are in this nation.”

Alarcon said the reaction from this announcement has electrified the immigrant community. She said she attended a rapid response event today, informing people what to do if ICE were to show up at their door.

“I think it’s now or never,” said Alarcon. “Things or either going to get really bad or get really good, and I think that right now, we’re at the time where we can lead change into ways that will help us all.”

 

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