August 31, 2017
Mayor Barbara Sharief
Broward County Governmental Center
115 S. Andrews Ave., Room 437C
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301
Dear Mayor Sharief:
I am writing today to urge you to create an immediate, temporary Advisory Board to study the Broward Transition Center (BTC), located in Pompano Beach, FL. We have had a for-profit prison/detention center operating in our county since August 2002. The facility has been accused of numerous “human rights abuses and policy violations.” To the public’s knowledge, BTC, which is owned and run by The GEO Group, has refused to respond to letters from congressional representatives.
It is unclear what decision Donald Trump and his administration will make concerning Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and the many DREAMers who were granted temporary relief through it, but undocumented or unauthorized immigrant status does not give warrant to treat people in a way that devalues human dignity. Immigrants deserve fairness and decency, irrespective of their status.
In my review of two years of minutes, our appointed Human Rights Board has never discussed or made any recommendations on the private prison and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) deportation center in our county. I ask the Broward County Board of County Commissioners to appoint an Advisory Board to find ways to offset whatever state and county funds depend on this contract and to prescribe measures for its immediate closing.
Let’s demonstrate that we are more than “an inclusive County which welcomes, celebrates, and offers refuge” to residents and visitors. We ought to protect human beings from unjust treatment and for-profit prisons/detentions have no place within our gates.
Dale V.C. Holness
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