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Southwest Ranches ICE Jail Cancelled

On a day when President Obama announced that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) will take steps to stop deporting people who came to the U.S. illegally as children, there's more big news on immigration close to home.

ICE has issued a press release to the media, as reported by Local 10 and other outlets, that it's pulled its plans to build a detention center in Southwest Ranches. From the release:

ICE has reevaluated its need for an additional detention facility in South Florida and has decided that it will no longer pursue a facility in the Town of Southwest Ranches. We are examining our options for additional detention space in the region and will make the appropriate notifications when a decision about the way forward has been made.

This comes after a nearly a year of intense debate and many more years of planning and failed attempts to build a correctional cash cow in an obscure corner of Southwest Ranches. It's been boosted by the city commission, including Mayor Jeff Nelson and Town Attorney Keith Poliakoff, and decried by immigration-rights groups, local residents, and a majority of the Pembroke Pines City Commission.

The Pines crew might find itself facing a steep legal challenge, because it's fighting a suit from prison contractor CCA over its plans to withdraw water and sewer services from the planned facility. Poliakoff has said that if ICE were to pull its proposal, CCA might blame Pines's interference for the loss and try to collect many millions of dollars from the city.

We'll have more analysis on that early in the week. 

For background on the deal, read our in-depth feature story from January.

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Stefan Kamph
Contact: Stefan Kamph

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