EL CENTRO – During comments at the Tuesday, May 13, regular board meeting, Frank Griley, Detention Officer at the local ICE facility, spoke as the Local 165 Union representative about his recent trip to Washington D.C. to lobby for the threatened ICE Detention Facility.
Griley told the board he met with Senator Feinstein, Department of Homeland Security and Immigration department heads.
He stated he was surprised to hear that the last wave of county and city politicians that visited D.C. had not visited ICE, nor had not spoken about the devastating effects of the closing ICE facility, according to the department heads he met.
According to Griley, the deal is not set in stone yet, but the County needed an outpouring of support to keep the Immigration Facility open. He said the next two to three weeks were critical to make noise.
Griley said that his union and the company that operates the facility, Asset Security, are working hand in hand to keep jobs. “This is a great example of a union and management being on the same side, doing all we can to help the other.”
Asset Security sent Griley to their lobbyist in Washington D.C. to aid them in their efforts to change minds about the closing of the El Centro ICE facility.
What pleased Griley, was when he mentioned to ICE officials a staging plan he had written up when he first heard rumors of ICE closing, that the officials actually had his plan before them and were considering their options.
Basically, Griley re-purposed the detention facility to be a staging unit as illegals were brought in they could be processed, and then within a few days transported to where ICE wanted them.
Griley said the El Centro unit never lacked for detainees. “We are always full, we turn away people constantly.” He did mention that the average time for an inmate to stay had decreased from an average of 2 years to one year or less.
Another idea Griley presented in Washington D.C. was to change the El Centro facility to one for minors without guardians. According to Griley, there are 600 minors who are detained each year that are not accompanied with parents. “We have facilities for adults, and facilities for families, but nothing just for children with out families. El Centro could easily be converted to hold only minors.
Griley, while in Washington D.C. asked Immigration if they had done an economic impact report before making any decision. Hearing the negative, Griley produced the report commissioned by the Imperial County Board of Supervisors and gave it to them. “That is now their report of record. It clearly shows the negative impact their decision would have on our valley.”
Ralph Cordova, CEO of Imperial Valley, immediately set a date later in the morning to meet with Griley to learn more about his visit to DHS and Immigration, and coordinate the County’s next step in securing the facility and saving 600 local, well paid jobs.