Tohono O'odham jail foes tired of 'sovereign nation'
Residents of a small town near the Tohono O'odham Nation of Arizona are fighting hard over a proposed detention center on the reservation.

The San Xavier Regional Detention Center would be located on 48 acres of allotted land. No tribal members live near the site but it's not far from the town of Sahuarita, whose residents are lobbying members of Congress, gathering signatures in protest of the facility and are planning a boycott of a tribal casino.

"We're just tired of hearing about them being a sovereign nation," Dewey Cooper told The Arizona Republic. "They think they've got everything in their pocket. But I don't think they do."

Cooper and his wife live next to the site. They are worried about the impact the jail will have on property values, as well as the type of people that might be housed at the facility.

"They've got a reservation the size of Connecticut," Cooper said. "Why can't they go somewhere else?"

The tribe is working with three companies to develop the $50 million jail. It would mainly be used to house immigrants who are being returned to their home countries.

The Bureau of Indian Affairs is taking comments on an environmental assessment of the jail. Local officials say a full environmental impact study must be conducted.

Get the Story:
Small town resisting prison on tribal land (The Arizona Republic 5/21)

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Opposition to Tohono O’odham Nation jail grows (5/6)
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