Pingree Requests Trump Admin Delay Opening ICE Facility in Scarborough Until Community Weighs In, Questions About Proximity to Vet Center Answered
Washington, March 2, 2020
Congresswoman Chellie Pingree (D-Maine) today sent a letter to General Services Administration (GSA) head Emily W. Murphy requesting that the agency delay the opening of an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) office in Scarborough until the local community has the opportunity to weigh in on the facility. Pingree noted that Scarborough residents and stakeholders only learned of the new ICE facility through press reports and that businesses co-located at the site as well as the nearby Vet Center are rightly concerned about the agency’s lack of transparency.
“There is some concern that ICE presence and activities at the site will negatively impact the immediate area, including the businesses co-located at the site, their patrons, and local residents. Further, there have been additional complaints from veterans who utilize the Vet Center who do not support an ICE facility adjacent to the newly relocated Vet Center, Pingree wrote. “I share their concerns that the presence of the ICE facility could deter non-citizen veterans from seeking medical treatment at the Vet Center, and that the presence of detained individuals at or transiting to the ICE facility could be harmful to veterans diagnosed with trauma-induced mental health disorders.”
Pingree continued: This is the second ICE relocation in my district that has caused a significant public response, in part because the processes were both perceived as secretive. I understand that GSA does not normally take public comment when moving a federal facility, however, the outcry is indicative of serious and growing mistrust of this particular agency.”
Read Pingree’s full letter to GSA here.
On February 14, 2020, the Bangor Daily News first reported ICE’s decision to relocate their Enforcement and Removal Operations holding facility to Scarborough. According to the report, ICE intends to utilize the Scarborough facility to process, fingerprint, and detain people suspected of immigration violations.
State Senators Rebecca Millett and Linda Sanborn, and state Representatives Shawn Babine, Chris Caiazzo, and Andrew McLean recently wrote to Rep. Pingree and raised concerns about the lack of community engagement in the facility selection process and the impact of it could have on organizations co-located in the same business park, including a federal veterans health agency and marketing firm. Read their letter here.