Immigration detention center operator sues city of Tacoma

TACOMA, Wash. (AP) — The private company that runs the Northwest Detention Center is suing the city of Tacoma over an ordinance passed last month that restricts the facility from expanding.

Florida-based GEO Group sued in federal court Thursday, saying that while Tacoma’s ordinance purports to be about land use control, it’s meant to ban federal immigration detention facilities such as the Northwest Detention Center because of the city’s political disagreement with current federal immigration policy.

GEO Group is a for-profit company that runs the immigration detention center in Tacoma on contract with U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement.

The company is asking the court to invalidate the ordinance.

The News Tribune reports that Tacoma Deputy City Attorney Steve Victor says the ordinance was meant to protect economically valuable land in the port of Tacoma from encroachment by non-industrial uses, including detention and correctional facilities.