Local group speaks out alleged against immigrant detention center

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LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – A Michigan group is speaking out tonight, voicing concerns over a private detention center in our state.

They say it’s specifically targeting immigrants.

“We just don’t think that there should be any kind of corporate run prisons in Michigan, especially racist ones that target immigrants specifically,” said Brandon Johnson, a member of No Detention Centers in Michigan.

“Why would we have a prison that specifically targets one population? And is there a potential for abuse there? I think the answer is yes. This is run by a private corporation that is designed to make money,” said Johnson.

No Detention Centers in Michigan formed when a $35 million immigrant detention center was going to be built in Ionia, until it was blocked by Governor Gretchen Whitmer.

But now their focus is on the North Lake Correctional Facility in Baldwin.

“We don’t want any immigrants in prison, but especially one ran by a private corporation, which is driven by profit and not for any kind of human rights incentive,” said Johnson.

The private prison is owned by the GEO Group. The company specializes in privatized corrections, detention, and mental health treatment.

Erin Paskus says the company is taking advantage of Michigan’s immigrant population.

“Everyone deserves to feel safe, everyone deserves to feel like they are protected and are not going to have ICE show up at their door and like take them away from their family,” said Paskus.

The two hope by continuing to stand for what they believe in, their voices will be heard.

“Immigrants are people too, and they just want to live, watch their kids grow old, live happy lives, and we don’t think it’s good to have someone like the GEO Group or the U.S. government targeting vulnerable populations,” said Johnson.

A spokesperson for the GEO Group sent the following statement to 6 News:

“The groups claims are unfounded and not based in fact.  To be clear, the North Lake Facility in Michigan exclusively houses foreign nationals on behalf of the Federal Bureau of Prisons, not federal immigration enforcement authorities, who have been convicted of felony crimes by the federal courts.”

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