Northwest Detention Center watchers say they're sharing information with the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement as part of an investigation into the private contractor that runs the immigration lock up.
The following comment appeared on TacomaSDS.org: "ICE is investigating GEO for fraudulent representation."
To which, the Bill of Rights Defense Committee, replied:
"[Chairman Tim] Smith also confirmed a report posted on TACOMASDS.org, 'We are cooperating fully with the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency in a different investigation of GEO Group, Inc and the City of Tacoma. We have provided all requested documents. I cannot comment on this due to the on-going investigation.'
In a press release today, the watchdog group was asking for construction, which will disturb potentially toxic soil on the Tideflats, to be halted until an appeal on planned expansion at the facility can be heard.
Read the full press release after the jump.
SEP PIC File # SEP2008-40000120273
The above mentioned appeal, filed with the City of Tacoma on Monday, has been reviewed by the Department of Public Works and forwarded to the Hearing Examiner for action. " Although the city is still responding with misinformation of this issue, we are pleased the Responsible Authority saw merit with our appeal and we look forward to presenting our assertions," states Timothy Smith, Chairperson and Representative of the Bill of Rights Defense Committee – Tacoma, who filed the appeal.
The appeal to the City of Tacoma concerns the proposed expansion of the Northwest Detention Center (NWDC) at 1623 East "J" Street on the Tacoma Tarpits EPA SuperFund Site. The expansion of the NWDC will provide housing for an additional 575 persons and expand the total bed-space to 1575, and 104,000 square feet of floor space.
Smith states: "We believe the effect of the Determination of Non-Significance from the November 14th Authorization to grade and excavate and should be halted. The Tacoma Municipal code section TMC 13.12.340 (2) states clearly that the 'filing of an appeal shall stay the effect of such DNS and no major action in regard to a proposal may be taken during the pendency of an appeal.' "
"The City of Tacoma’s building inspector for the project was recently quoted as being unaware of any on-going appeal to the activity, unaware of the site’s potentially contaminated SuperFund Status. He has acknowledged and provided confirmation of assertions concerning the site and Earthquake soil liquefaction and penetration of the remediated overburden cap. We will implore the Hearing Examiner to use the emergency provisions in the hearing process to halt such work."
"This is a public safety issue and always has been. The City of Tacoma, as the lead agency for this proposal must insure that development protects not only the persons living and working in the building, but also should not create a safety hazard by continually exempting building code intended to reduce liability. Also, these developments should not complicate Police, Fire, and disaster response efforts. We believe the Responsible Agency should have halted all grading, excavating and pile hole gravel filling immediately upon the submission of our appeal."
Smith also confirmed a report posted on TACOMASDS.org, " We are cooperating fully with the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency in a different investigation of GEO Group, Inc and the City of Tacoma. We have provided all requested documents. I cannot comment on this due to the on-going investigation."
The Bill of Rights Defense Committee - Tacoma formed on Dec 15 2002 and focuses on issues concerning civil liberties and open government.
A collection of current photos and other background material can be found here: