Pixel Tracker

Tuesday, December 11 , 2018, 9:24 pm | Fair 52º


New Building to House ICE Operations Under Construction in Santa Maria

Century Street facility begins to take shape, with completion expected next spring

Construction is well under way on the new building to house Immigration and Customs Enforcement operations in Santa Maria.

Walls have been raised for the building on Century Street, which runs parallel to nearby West Betteravia Road and West McCoy Lane.

“Barring any unforeseen delays, they anticipate ICE will move into the new office sometime this spring,” ICE spokeswoman Lori Haley said.

The facility will house ICE Enforcement and Removal Operations that since 1996 have been based in temporary office space on the grounds of the Lompoc Federal Correctional Complex. The existing facility has become outdated, Haley said.

Approximately 12 employees now based at the federal prison complex will work at the new site in Lompoc.

ICE officials said the space would be used for administrative purposes and for working with area prisons and jails to pick up undocumented inmates set for release to determine their deportation status.

The federal agency’s representatives have repeatedly said the facility wouldn’t be a detention center and would have two or three rooms to temporarily hold 12 to 15 people. 

“Anyone arrested by ICE who is going to remain in the agency’s custody for more than 12 hours will be transferred to a detention center specifically equipped for that purpose,” Haley said.

The development sparked protests from immigrant and farming communities who expressed fears of random round ups of farmworkers.

Hundreds of opponents attended Santa Maria City Council meetings to protest the facility they feared would be used to randomly round up farmworkers and immigrants for deportation.

At the end of a marathon meeting in late March, the City Council ultimately upheld a Planning Commission decision to allow the project to proceed.

Noozhawk North County editor Janene Scully can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made using a credit card, Apple Pay or Google Pay, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments and a mailing address for checks.

Thank you for your vital support.

Become a Noozhawk Supporter

First name
Last name
Select your monthly membership
Or choose an annual membership

Payment Information

Membership Subscription

You are enrolling in . Thank you for joining the Hawks Club.

Payment Method

Pay by Credit Card:

Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover
One click only, please!

Pay with Apple Pay or Google Pay:

Noozhawk partners with Stripe to provide secure invoicing and payments processing.
You may cancel your membership at any time by sending an email to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click Here to Get Started >

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.