WACO, Texas – The Waco City Council has unanimously denied the request for a proposed immigrant facility.
The organization trying to bring this facility to Waco requested a 60-day continuance from the Council. This was denied, as well.
Dozens spoke out in opposition during the public hearing Tuesday night – stating security concerns, as well concerns about the well-being of the children who would be staying there.
The vote to deny the proposal came after almost an hour of public comment with majority of people voicing their opposition to the proposal.
The facility would have been a 30 to 90 day housing location for 88 boys between the ages of 11 and 17.
Previous to the meeting, the developers met with the planning commission who recommended that the council denied their motion.
Several spoke up saying they were concerned with the security aspect that came with an immigrant facility like that opening up in East Waco.
Others like La Vega ISD’s superintendent addressed the burden that would be imposed on school districts in case things went south with the facility.
Social work professionals questioned the mental state of some of the immigrants and wondered how the developers planned to address their mental well-being after being separated from their families.
It came out tonight that Vision Quest was behind the group of developers hoping to bring the facility to East Waco.
Many spoke out calling the organization untrustworthy.
During that meeting the developers requested a 90- day continuance to get a more clear message out to community stake-holders and that motion was denied by the council as well.
Not everyone was opposed to the proposal. We spoke to a guy who thinks it could’ve have been a good idea.
“I think they need to consider those young men are seperated from their families and its not because they want to be. Its because of what happened to them when the immigration people picked them up. I’d hate for somebody to do me like that, serparate me from my family,” said Ronnie Bradford.
FOX 44 also spoked to a couple living in the area for 20 years who say they’ve seen their of let downs in their neighborhood.
“I’ve seen previous facilities where the staff has left the occupants unmanned and they come up to our homes ad open up our doors and just do things that are unsafe,” said Brandi Newton, a 20 resident in the area.
“What is this going to do for the neighborhood but bring about a bunch of unnessary traffic and things that people just don’t want to see,” her husband James Newton added.
A representative of the Waco Immigrants Alliance says their organization stands with those in opposition of the proposal as well.
“We all stand unified in saying No not in our city but really for us not anywhere. The problem of incarcerating immigrant youth is systematic. It really should be reformed and there’s also a really troublesome history from vision quest and their facility so for so many reasons, we’re against it,” said Hope Mustakim, with the Waco Immigrants Alliance.