Navy only discussing placing migrants in Concord, no plans

CONCORD (BCN/KTVU) The Concord City Council held a special meeting to discuss news reports that the U.S. Navy may be planning to place a detention facility for up to 47,000 immigrant detainees at the former Naval Weapons Station.

But Contra Costa Supervisor John Gioa said Tuesday night that he received late word that no sites in California will be considered. KTVU spoke to Gioa by phone. He said he received word from the sheriff who has been in contact with the Department of Homeland Security and that no site in California, including Concord's naval weapons station will be considered for a migrant detention facility. 

A spokesman for Concord told KTVU no city officials have received this information. KTVU reached out to Contra Costa County Sheriff. A spokesman said the sheriff will not comment on confidential communications. 

The meeting included time for community input, and city officials hope to formulate a response from the council as well as a plan of action going forward.

About 100 people attended a rally to support Concord officials' opposition to the Concord naval weapons station being used for a migrant detention facility. 

"They're human beings. They come to America for the American dream . They want to be here. They want to provide for their family," said Gabe Medina of Concord. His partner, Gina Medina said she is trying to teach her daughter to be compassionate and to help people in danger who are seeking a better life. The couple said it was their first time participating in a rally. 

Mayor Edi Birsan sent a letter to Secretary of the Navy Richard Spencer on Monday asking that an authorized representative be sent to the meeting to answer questions about the decision-making process involved, as well as the potential project's current status and timing.

Chief Navy spokesman Capt. Gregory Hicks said in response to the news reports, "In order to inform potential senior leader discussion around this topic (places for detainees), Navy planners proactively pulled together a list of options that could be considered. The memo (obtained by Time Inc.) is strictly pre-decisional and meant for informed deliberation by senior leaders."

Birsan has a number of concerns outlined in the letter, including environmental contamination. The 12,800-acre Concord Naval Weapons Station is listed as a "superfund site" by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and Birsan says significant portions of the property are not suitable for human 
occupation.

Moreover, the facility "currently has no useful infrastructure to provide water, sewer, or electricity," Birsan said.

City officials have been working to take possession of the sprawling site for roughly 12 years, and that process is within months of transferring the property to the city and the East Bay Regional Parks 
District for residential and commercial development.

"These concerns, individually and collectively, make the (Concord Naval Weapons Station) unsuitable for consideration as a detention facility," Birsan said.

Wednesday's town hall meeting is scheduled to take place at 1 p.m. in the council chambers at 1950 Parkside Drive.

KTVU's Amber Lee contributed to this report 

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