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Emerald Corrections Building New ICE Detention Center in Mineral Wells

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Emerald Corrections appears to be fast-tracking a proposed immigrant detention center in Mineral Wells, according to an article in the Mineral Wells Index ("ICE facility project heating up; Federal detention facility plans moving forward," February 13),

Emerald Companies will be submitting permitting and zoning plans to the city this week as the next step toward building an Immigrations and Customs Enforcement detainee facility in Mineral Wells.

“I see no stumbling blocks or hindrances at this point,” Steve Afeman, chief operating officer of Emerald Companies, said.

The Mineral Wells Industrial Foundation and Emerald Companies entered into an option agreement Jan. 15.

“Basically, they’ve got 90 days to exercise their option … or they don’t get the land,” Industrial Foundation’s Steve Butcher said. “This makes us [feel the project] is moving ahead.”

Mineral Wells is already home to a state-contracted Corrections Corporation of America pre-parole and transfer facility that was the site of four smuggling arrests last year and at least one riot.  See Nick's three part investigative series for more information. This facility also seems to spark considerable interest in our readers, with many family members commenting on conditions at the facility and many defenders of the prison posting lengthy rebuttals of our posts.

The major questions that jump out to me on the current Emerald proposal are:

  1. Is there a need for yet another ICE detention facility in Texas?  See the Detention Watch Network's map of detention facilities in Texas for a graphic illustration of the growing system of immigrant detention in Texas.  Is there any guarantee that the Obama administration will continue the policy of ever-expanding detention capacity?
  2. Who will pay for the financing of this facility?  Several counties have floated substantial debt to build federal detention centers, often to mixed results.  More information on this practice available at
  3. Is there already a contract for ICE detainees to be held at the facility or is this a speculative prison in a place where Emerald is hoping for a contract.  These are certainly different propositions. 

We'll let you know if we discover the answers to these questions and more news from Mineral Wells.  

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I will be unable to attend the meeting at the MW high school, however I am in favor of building the detention center at the airport site. I think it will help the local economy because of the jobs it will create. Mineral Wells needs to get something going on. If they fight this and cause the detention center to fail, it will create concern for anyone or any business that might be interested in moving to Mineral Wells. We need to create an atmosphire of openess, and willingness for new ideas, and prosperity.

Sorry, I just didn't know a prison inspired openness, willingness for new ideas, or prosperity. I was under the impression that prisons inspired fear, trepidation, uneasiness, and more criminals, not to mention a literal closedness, adherence to old ideas (they already have one prison, and damn, their economy is out-freakin'-standing - sarcasm intended) and poverty and weariness for Corrections Officers. Will property value not go down? Will businesses want to come in if there is such a prison there? I myself would not. I would not even want to move there. It's bourgeois fellas like yourself that run people and places into the ground with your "I have got a miracle economic cure for you... trust me..." lies. More jobs doesn't equal better economy. How much, per acre, was paid for that land? I heard 1 dollar, but that could be wrong. I wasn't there, someone told me. How much revenue in property tax will be gained by Mineral Wells? I hear only 150,000, out of the 800,000 (for the math impaired people, that's 650,000 dollars going to Parker County!), so tell me exactly how this is going to encourage openness with its shady-sounding deals, a willingness for new ideas when it's business as usual, and prosperity when Parker County stands to prosper without doing a single freakin' thing? Your comments, or anyone else who has any hard facts should please let me and everyone else know. I'm only reporting what I've heard, and it sounds terribly odd.

THANK GOD!! FINALLY SOMEONE WITH SOME SENSE! I would love to visit with you.

Who wrote this? Do some research. All the information I can gather points to the fact that Emerald Corp. is not a very reputable company. LaSalle Co. has a law suit against them. Caldwell Co. ran them out. No one can verify that they have a contract with ICE. We have one prison that is only 70% staffed and advertises everyday for positions. This job thing won't hold up. We have jobs for the taking here. Either no one wants to work, can't pass a drug test, or just don't want to do this type of work. Besides all that, don't you think that the 62 acres could be used for something else that would be more profitable to the city? Something that would bring in something besides minimum wage jobs. Who will benefit from this? The City of Mineral Wells or Parker County? (the facility will be in Parker Co.) There are many other issues like water & sewer, businesses in the proximity of the airport and more. Google Emerald Corp. Do a Yahoo search. Get your facts together before you make up your mind. THIS IS NOT WHAT MINERAL WELLS NEEDS! Especially adjoining our airport. Glad you can't come tonight!

I agree with the last post. If Emerald opened in MW the only people who would/could work there are the over worked, under paid C/Os at CCA. Which would create further staffing problems there.