Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D-MI) recently blocked the sale of a former state prison set to be used as an immigrant detention center.
According to The Associated Press, Whitmer prevented the sale from moving forward after Immigration Centers of America, the sole bidder for the property that has been closed since 2009, couldn’t guarantee that it wouldn’t house adults separated from their children.
“The governor believes that building more detention facilities won’t solve our immigration crisis, and she also believes that separating families doesn’t reflect our Michigan values,” a Whitmer spokesperson explained.
The sale of the Deerfield Correctional Facility in Ionia, Michigan was allowed to move forward under Republican Gov. Rick Snyder’s administration. Rep. Thomas Albert (R-86), whose district includes the correctional facility, has repeatedly criticized Whitmer’s decision to block the sale.
“I would really like to know what the governor’s plan is to bring 250 well-paying jobs to Ionia and how she plans to clean up the long-vacant former prison property. The sale of this blighted property has been in the works for well over a year and the governor’s heavy-handed rejection came days before the sale was to be finalized,” Albert said in a statement on Facebook. “It’s obvious the governor’s rejection was about appeasing her political base and taking a swipe at President Trump.”
Albert joined Fox & Friends Tuesday morning to discuss the story, jokingly asking host Steve Deace if he knows “anybody looking to buy a dilapidated prison facility.”
“It’s actually pretty devastating to my community,” Albert said. “250 jobs—that’s massive. Ionia is a correctional community. Ever since the Civil War, Ionia’s been housing prisons.”
“To say that they somehow don’t have Michigan values to me is insulting,” he continued. “She’s kind of stepping all over the city of Ionia because she wants to go toe-to-toe with President Trump.
Some, however, praised the decision, including the immigrant-rights group Michigan United.
“Not only would a new prison anywhere in Michigan make it easier for ICE to tear families apart, one so far away would also make it harder for their lawyers to work with them, harder for their families to come visit them and much harder for the community to rally in their support,” Michigan United said in a statement.