The Santa Maria City Council narrowly approved a controversial new Immigration and Customs Enforcement facility in the city, following a marathon meeting attended by more than a thousand people.
The Santa Maria City Council heard eight hours of testimony before finally voting after 11 last night to give the go ahead to a 12,700 square foot office complex on the 700 block of West Century Street.
The issue was such a hot one that the council had to move its meeting from the City Council chambers, to the Santa Maria Fairpark to accommodate the large crowd.
Federal officials say the new facility will allow them to be able to centralize the processing of prisoners in local jails who should be deported.
But, many members of the community worry the complex would lead to deportations of undocumented residents who aren’t criminals.
The Santa Maria Planning Commission approved the project, but multiple opponents appealed the decision, setting the stage for yesterday’s hearing. The council approved the project by a 3-2 margin.