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Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Would SoWhat immigration jail "process" murderers and rapists?

An alert reader writes about the plan to site an immigration jail down in Portland's heaven-forsaken South Waterfront district:

I thought I would pass along some information regarding the SoWhat "office building" that just so happens to have a prison in it. The hearing is tomorrow and there will be representatives from ICE detention there to answer questions. I have been doing some digging and this is what I found out.

The INA (immigration law) allows ICE to deport "aggravated felons" who are not lawful permanent residents (green card holders) and deport them "administratively." What the INA deems "aggravated felons," in short, are generally not the kind of guys you want hanging out in your neighborhood. They go before a federal administrative law judge for a hearing to decide their fate regarding deportation.

The detention vans pick up the "aggravated felons" from surrounding county and state prisons. These are guys convicted of violent felonies like rape, murder, assault, serious drug crimes, child abuse, etc. They arrive at ICE in belly chains and leg irons. They are loaded into holding cells to be processed by being interviewed then photographed and fingerprinted. When all the vans have arrived the prisoners are transported up to the Tacoma "office building" that just happens to be a prison. I’m told about 30 guys a day are going through the current facility located down on NW Broadway. That space has one large and two small holding cells. The new detention center in the SoWhat has four cells that are about double the square footage. I imagine they will be able to house more prisoners in the newer "office building" that has a prison in it.

Another interesting thing I learned is that people who are on electronic monitoring report to ICE. These individuals include convicted felons on probation those who have green cards or people convicted of crimes whose countries will not take them back (i.e., Cuba, Somalia, Vietnam). It kind of sounds like an immigration version of parole and probation where the convicts come and check in every Wednesday. I’m sure ICE is not letting its SoWhat neighbors in on that little tidbit. This is absolutely not the right fit for any neighborhood. ICE should be placed out by the airport or out at Wapato. I can’t believe that the city is ramming this through.

Perhaps they're so embarrassed at the terrible mistake they made in SoWhat that they'll do anything to get somebody to move down there. But it just compounds the previous mistake, because once people see the barbed wire fences and machine-gun-toting guards, they'll never want to live there. Go by streetcar!

Comments (8)

From Portland to Clackamas County the stupid jerks in charge are like someone who accidently shoots themselves in the foot and as a remedy shoots the other foot.
Then demand new feet.

I also think it's telling that the meeting is at 1:30 on a Thursday, with very little notice. Gee, I guess no one will have anything (bad) to say about this.

Aren't there some prohibitions about locating a jail near a school? The Portland International School, which serves pre-k through 5th grade, is easily within 1000' of the location.

It just blows my mind that the city is quietly supporting this and not actively opposing the prison. There is definitely a more appropriate venue for such a facility. Aren't we supposed to be a sanctuary city? Are we turning in our progressive cards?

The traffic coming in on Macadam/43 in the morning is a killer and there is going to be prison buses? Maybe we could push this thing over to NE Portland off of Cesar Chavez Blvd.

I kind of like the idea of luxury condo owners sharing their roads, trams, and bistros with Federal workers. I especially like the idea of a couple of Yorkies having to wait to cross over to the Poodle Poop Park because the chain gang is crossing the street.

Better yet: if we locate the Mexican Consulate there, we could save a whole lotta car trips from downtown.

The guy who absconded with and used my credit card, his crimes weren't deemed serious enough to warrant ICE intervention and detention even though he was charged with two felonies. Go figure. The blokes picked up by ICE must be seriously bad buys, indeed.

Where are the developers and investors on this, since they still need to sell condos there?

More crazy making coming out of City Hall!

There are several items in the ICE criteria request-for-bids that makes the SoWhat ICE Jail not permissible.

One is the school issue. A charter school is going in right across the trolley tracks just east of the proposed ICE building. There are also turning radius, maneuvering requirements for security buses that the site cannot accommodate, as well as security issues on the street frontages. The architects have ignored these issues, and it will be interesting to see if ICE ignores them too.

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