Friday, December 19, 2014     Volume: 15, Issue: 41
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Santa Maria Sun / News

The following article was posted on March 26th, 2014, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 15, Issue 3 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [santamariasun.com] - Volume 15, Issue 3

Capps asks officials to postpone ICE facility decision

BY AMY ASMAN

Earlier this month, U.S. Rep. Lois Capps (D-Santa Barbara) wrote a second letter to government officials asking them to postpone the final decision on a proposed ICE facility in Santa Maria until more of the community’s questions could be answered. The Santa Maria City Council was scheduled to vote on the matter at a special meeting on March 27.

“While I am disappointed by the lack of a response to my [Feb. 4] inquiry, I am even more concerned by the lack of public information regarding this process … and the speed at which these decisions are being made,” Capps said in a March 20 letter.

Capps said while she understands the mission and importance of ICE, she also understand “the deep lack of trust felt in the community, the fear of raids and increased deportations, along with concerns of long-term economic impacts the facility could have on the city of Santa Maria.”

She also asked for an in-person meeting with ICE’s acting director Daniel Ragsdale and U.S. General Services Administration’s administrator Dan Tangherlini, and included a list of questions for ICE to consider, including:

  • • What other sites did the GSA consider for this facility?
  • • Did GSA consider any sites closer to the current location?
  • • Why was the Santa Maria site initially chosen?
  • • Does GSA or ICE see particular merits to this specific location?
  • • Did GSA consider locating the site at the county’s future North County Jail?

According to ICE officials, the proposed office on McCoy Lane would serve as a processing facility for undocumented inmates coming out of the Lompoc Penitentiary, the California Men’s Colony, and the San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbra county jails.

Hundreds of Santa Maria residents have protested against the facility for the issues listed by Capps and the fact that it includes plans for three holding cells—two that can house a maximum of six people, and one for solitary confinement.

According to ICE officials, the single-person cell would be used for a criminal who is sick or a woman or a juvenile.

The City Council is expected to hold a special meeting for the matter at the Santa Maria Fairpark on March 27 at 3 p.m.