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Community makes a stand against proposed immigration facility, saying they won't take advantage of immigrants

Posted at 6:26 AM, Feb 19, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-19 07:26:47-05

WACO, TX — A proposal that promised new jobs and economic development was denied by the City Council on Tuesday evening.

The community took a stand and voiced their opinions about the proposed immigration facility for teens.

"We know that these young men are going to be separated from their families and some of the things they have to deal with, and they will now resort to a neighborhood that already has drugs, alcohol and trafficking. They are going to be exposed to that," said a concerned Waco resident.

Many of them worried with how the teens would be treated under the company taking over the facility, VisionQuest.

"These children are being displaced from their families as they cross the border, we know the money is out there for contractors to make billions off of separated families, and we did not want to be a part of that,” said Judge James Lee.

Odis Jackson works for the owner of the building and was trying to extend the voting date in order to perform additional research and provide a solution for everyone.

However, the community asked the city council to deny the proposal, which was approved.

Jackson says the city is missing out on money and says people cannot believe everything they read online.

"A lot of their research is incorrect and they did not give us the opportunity to come back and re-meet with them," Jackson said. "When someone asks to come up with proposals with the community, that was the plan so now we have a building that is still not in use.”

People stepping up and saying they are all for economic development - but not this way.

"Housing 88 children who do not have documentation, and they believe have refugee status but don't know what that means is very concerning, and Waco does not have the capacity to serve that."

City Councilmen voted, and the proposed immigration facility was denied.

"It is our responsibility as elected officials to represent the community and listen to the voices and that’s why am I not in favor of this project," a councilman said.

It was a decision that left all of those opposed very happy.

"It brings me joy to see my community stand up and say yes we love immigrants, but no we don’t like facilities that take advantage of them,” said Anali Looper.