What is being proposed?

Immigration Centers of America (ICA) proposes the construction and operation of a private immigration prison, also called a “detention center,” to hold up to 500 adult inmates within the city limits of New Richmond, Wisconsin.


Where will the detention facility be located?

The detention facility will be located in northwestern New Richmond at the corner of 115th Street and 185th Ave. adjacent to the existing St. Croix Correctional Center.  The new facility would be four times the size of the St. Croix Correctional Center.


What government approvals are required?

Because current zoning in the City of New Richmond does not permit the operation of the proposed detention facility, both the city Planning Commission and the City Council must approve a zoning change requested by ICA.


Who will be detained in the detention facility?

The detention facility will hold immigrants sent there by Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) from anywhere in the country to be held during their cases in immigration court.


Who owns ICA?

Immigration Centers of America (ICA) is a for profit corporation with headquarters in Virginia.   It is owned by a group of Virginia businessmen.  ICA currently operates a single immigration detention center in Farmville, Virginia.


What is the track record of the private prison industry?

Detention facilities operated by private prison companies have repeatedly been the site of abuse and mistreatment owing in part to the failure to adhere to enforceable national standards. The ineffective inspections process used by ICE has consistently failed to identify and correct problems inside these facilities. Further, the vast majority of ICE facility contracts do not include any robust penalty provisions. This incentivizes private companies to minimize facility costs by rationing basic necessities for detained individuals, including medical care. Even when severe deficiencies are discovered, ICE has not terminated contracts or used available penalties, but rather continued to send immigrants to be held in unsafe conditions.


Why does the ACLU of Wisconsin oppose the proposal?

Immigration detention is a flawed idea which involves locking up immigrants, separating them from their families, regardless of whether the immigrants have any record of dangerousness or a risk of flight.  Building this new facility only increases the ability of ICE to detain immigrants instead of using the many proven alternatives to incarceration.  Immigration detention is made even worse when the owners of a detention facility are motivated by profits, earning money on the backs of human misery.  New Richmond, and all of Wisconsin, should stand up and say “no” to such an abhorrent proposal.


Won’t this bring jobs to our community?

ICA claims that this detention facility will bring 200 jobs to New Richmond.   But these jobs as guards and food service and custodial are not jobs with a career track and in the type of industry that New Richmond wants to attract.    Private prisons do not attract other jobs or businesses to come to a community, and probably discourage other development. 


How can I speak up?

There will be an opportunity to make your opposition known at a community public forum at WITC New Richmond on April 23 from 4:30-9:00 PM and at the Planning Commission and Special City Council meeting on May 7 at WITC New Richmond at 6:00 PM.   Written comments can also be submitted by email to applications@newrichmondwi.gov including full name, full address and contact information.


The ACLU of Wisconsin is a non-profit, non-partisan, private organization whose 13,000 members support its efforts to defend the civil rights and liberties of all Wisconsin residents. For more on the ACLU of Wisconsin, visit our  About Us page of this website, like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter and Instagram.

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