The decision to enlarge the Southern California detention center for illegal immigrants in Adelanto is being excoriated by pro-immigrant advocacy groups. Instead, they are demanding that resources be used for children seeking asylum in the United States.
The Los Angeles Times reported that the center is currently being expanded to hold up to 1,950 illegal immigrants, up from its present capacity of 1,300. Additionally, a women’s housing unit will be built. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials welcome the new construction, arguing that it will accommodate more bed space required by the Los Angeles area. ICE spokeswoman Virgina Kice explained that ICE endeavors to detain the illegal immigrants in proximity to where they are arrested.
Notably, immigrant advocacy groups are emphatic that the government should not be diverting its money to detention centers, but should be spending it on helping to house children that have come here from Central America and crossed the U.S. southern border. Moreover, the groups insist that the detention center does not adequately care for the detainees, claiming that the food is bad and that the health care is unsatisfactory.
Luis Nolasco, a spokesman for Justice For Immigrants Coalition, contends that “Resources should go to help the children seeking asylum, not to grow private prisons.” Nolasco has been spending recent days taking donations for the illegal immigrant children that have been bussed into the Inland Empire.
Officials in the high desert town see things differently than Nolasco. They claim that the new construction will help their struggling economy, which is facing a $2.6-million budget deficit. “It takes an existing facility, expands it, and creates more jobs,” said Adelanto City Manager Jim Hart. “That’s a financial benefit for the city.”