Leaders of the Greater Elkhart and Goshen chambers of commerce are among the signatories of a letter released yesterday that opposes building an immigration detention center south of Elkhart.
The letter, written by Goshen Mayor Jeremy Stutsman, stated any benefits to building the more than 100 million dollar facility proposed by the private company CoreCivic are outweighed by the impacts the center could have on the overall quality of life in Elkhart County.
Goshen was awarded “Community of the Year” from the Indiana Chamber of Commerce last year. Stutsman says the award is an example of diversity having an impact on a community.
Stutsman also wrote about the initiatives dedicated to improving the quality of life in Northern Indiana. Two of the most prominent initiatives are the Regional Cities and Vibrant Communities Initiatives.
“Both initiatives acknowledge that when good things happen in another community, everyone is helped,” Stutsman wrote in his letter, “They are about creating welcoming communities that in turn attract new residents, talent and businesses to our area. They are also about continuing to build our communities with our neighbors and friends.”
Goshen School Board President and immigration attorney Felipe Merino said the letter is a testament to the leadership of both Stutsman and the business community, which employs thousands in Elkhart County.
“For us anyway, in Goshen, what it represents that Mayor Stutsman is doing this, he’s taking a leadership position in making sure that the momentum that Goshen has had and Elkhart County has had in terms of being a leader in innovation growing in terms of job and economic growth, that he wants that momentum to keep going,” Merino said.
Elkhart County Commissioners will have the final say on the matter and vote on whether to allow CoreCivic to build the facility in March.