Greeley braces for new federal immigration office

After playing a role in the massive immigration raid against Swift & Co. meatpacking plants that was coordinated by the federal government in 2006, Greeley is set to receive a controversial neighbor this fall in the form of a new Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) building.

The Greeley Tribune reports recent developments with the incoming federal immigration office, with specific details of where the building will be located:

Doug Flanders, regional spokesman for the General Services Administration, said the ICE office will be located at 4645 18th St., just east of Aims Community College. Construction should be complete by October or November, he said.

GSA was the site scout in the selection process, which lasted several months.

The push to get ICE to move to Greeley has been a pet project of both local and national officials with conservative credentials in the state, including Colorado’s Republican Sen. Wayne Allard, who sought federal funding for the office, and Weld District Attorney Ken Buck, who floated the idea in 2005.

In September, Buck held a town forum in Greeley titled "Illegal Immigration: The Untold Stories," with the stated purpose of hearing from residents "victimized by criminals who never should have been in this country,"

But despite repeated claims by Buck that a new ICE office will somehow deter crime in the city, there is no evidence to suggest that undocumented immigrants in the area commit any more offenses than citizens, and the Greeley Police Department has confirmed that it’s not possible to even know how many specific crimes have been committed by the undocumented.

In 2006, the ICE arrested more than 200 individuals at a Swift & Co. plant in Greeley as part of a coordinated effort targeting workers at business locations in six states, leaving a polarized atmosphere in the city after subsequent claims of racial profiling and civil rights abuses.

There is also still no indication of how much the new ICE location will cost or how big it will be, according to the Tribune.

Erin Rosa was born in Spain and raised in Colorado Springs. She is a freelance writer currently living in Denver. Rosa's work has been featured in a variety of news outlets including the Huffington Post, Democracy Now!, and the Rocky Mountain Chronicle, an alternative-weekly in Northern Colorado where she worked as a columnist covering the state legislature. Rosa has received awards from the Society of Professional Journalists for her reporting on lobbying and woman's health issues. She was also tapped with a rare honorable mention award by the Newspaper Guild-CWA's David S. Barr Award in 2008--only the second such honor conferred in its nine-year history--for her investigative series covering the federal government's Supermax prison in the state. Rosa covers the labor community, corrections, immigration and government transparency matters. She can be reached at