SANTA MARIA, Calif. - Pedro Reyes of the League of United Latin American Citizens, or LULAC, shows Central Coast News a copy of the official document filed at Santa Maria City Hall appealing the City Planning Commission approval of a new Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, holding and processing facility on Depot Street near McCoy Lane.
The appeal was filed only hours before the deadline and means final approval for the controversial ICE project will come from the Santa Maria City Council in March.
"Specifically we're addressing this issue from the children's perspective", Reyes says about the appeal, "we have a lot of children that are born U.S. citizens whose parents are going to be detained or separated, so the question is who is going to advocate for these children?".
Others considering an appeal of the approval of the ICE project include neighboring property owners many of whom live directly across the street from the project site.
"If this area is going to be the area where they are going to be processing criminals, then are we exposing the safety of our neighbors here locally?", Reyes asks about the impacts from the project.
ICE has told Central Coast News the new building will allow it to continue to do what its already been doing locally for nearly 20 years which is processing and deporting dangerous repeat criminals being released from county jail or state prison.
ICE also points out the heavily secured building will have about a dozen people maximum in the three holding facilities in the new building for a short period of time until they are taken away and transported to the border.
The Santa Maria City Council will decide the fate of the new ICE holding holding facility at a specially-arranged meeting at the Santa Maria Fairpark on March 12th.