Pembroke Pines Commission Punts on ICE Prison Vote That May Not Matter Anyway

Iris Siple
Iris Siple

A couple of weeks ago, Pembroke Pines Commissioner Iris Siple got up in public and promised to try to cancel an agreement that said Pembroke Pines would provide fire, medical, water, and sewer services to a new ICE detention facility being planned for a plot of land near the Everglades.

The Town of Southwest Ranches and its attorney, Keith Poliakoff, say they expect private contractor CCA to break ground on the project early next year. CCA has the authorization it needs to begin construction, though another stage of review might be needed to bring the facility in line with ICE's needs. So the threat to rescind the agreement was a last-ditch effort to appeal to the vocal antiprison crowd.

Siple put an item on last night's agenda to discuss using a nine-month termination clause that was written into the agreement. But after an hour of discussion and feedback from antiprison advocates who filled the meeting, the commission voted to hold a workshop on the decision at a later date.

The Herald's Daniel Chang covered the meeting, as media continue to follow a group of nearby residents who refuse to let the facility go up without a fight.

Siple is up for reelection in January along with Mayor Frank Ortis, who also recently took a stand against the facility to thunderous applause.

"This facility is coming," said Poliakoff at the meeting last night, echoing a point he made at last Monday's Southwest Ranches council meeting. "So at this point, I would hope that fact would be recognized and we can all move forward collectively to try and ensure protections for the community as a whole."

At the town-hall meeting where Siple first said she would try to cancel the contract, CCA Executive Vice President Lucibeth Mayberry said that the company would proceed with its plans even if it lost infrastructure support from Pembroke Pines. "We'll do it ourselves," she said, indicating that the company would build a water treatment facility if that's what it takes to get the prison built.

Stefan Kamph is a New Times staff writer.
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