The federal government is considering moving its local Immigration and Customs Enforcement office from a Cary office park to a former Kroger supermarket on N.C. Highway 55 and High House Road.
"As a mother, I have concerns about a detention-type facility literally in my neighborhood," resident Tricia Assaid said Monday.
Residents of the Park West neighborhood found a flier in their mailboxes recently alerting them to a possible move by ICE to the area.
Danielle Bennett, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, said ICE is relocating because its lease is almost up, and the old Kroger store is among a number of sites under consideration.
"Obviously, we are concerned that the community members are alarmed, but we want them to know what this is and what this is not," Bennett said.
Like ICE's current office in Cary, the new space will be used as an office, not a detention center, she said.
"Like any law enforcement building, it's going to contain secure areas for holding and interviewing people that we arrest, but there is going to be no overnight bed space," she said.
The Park West Homeowners Association has called an emergency meeting for Tuesday night to fight any ICE move into the area. Cary Mayor Harold Weinbrecht and members of the Town Council have been invited to the meeting.
"It's a very inappropriate location, we think, judging from the locations that ICE usually uses," said Mark Howard, president of the homeowners group. "I don't know of too many office buildings that have detention cells in them."
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