Feds back off proposed immigration office in Cary
Posted July 12, 2011 3:08 p.m. EDT
Updated July 12, 2011 3:33 p.m. EDT
Cary, N.C. — Plans to locate a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement office in a former Kroger supermarket on N.C. Highway 55 and High House Road have been abandoned, officials said Tuesday.
Residents in the Park West subdivision opposed the idea, saying they were concerned about such a facility next-door to their Cary neighborhood.
"I don't know of too many office buildings that have detention cells in them," Mark Howard, president of the Park West Homeowners Association, told WRAL News last month.
The neighborhood opposition prompted the Cary Town Council to adopt a resolution asking the government not to locate the ICE office near a residential area.
Danielle Bennett, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, said ICE needs to relocate because its lease at a Cary office park is almost up, and the old Kroger store was among a number of sites under consideration.
Like ICE's current office in Cary, the new space would be used as an office, not a detention center, Bennett said.
The General Services Administration, which handles federal government offices, said in a news release Tuesday that none of the proposed locations, including the Kroger, met the specifications for an ICE office.
The GSA plans to reopen the search process for the office, which will consolidate three area ICE facilities, and consider other options, officials said.
"I think GSA has made the right decision to cancel this move and to reopen the consideration of lease options," 4th District Congressman David Price, who represents part of Cary, said in a statement. "It’s important that the Town of Cary and local residents be fully included in any decision about the location of a law enforcement facility of such a significant size in their community."