U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, also known as ICE, soon will open offices in a new building in Lakewood.
The agency says the new location will be used by its investigative division, the Homeland Security Investigations section.
“HSI is the largest investigative arm of the Department of Homeland Security,” said ICE spokeswoman Tanya Roman.
Personnel include special agents, analysts, auditors and support staff members.
The building at 12811 Pacific Highway SW is being remodeled. It will have specialized labs and what the agency calls “communication rooms.”
Roman, citing security concerns, declined to elaborate on what the rooms will be used for. It will not be a detention facility, she said.
“Once processing is complete, individuals who require detention will be transferred to a detention facility,” she said.
Under a contract from ICE, GEO Group owns and operates the Northwest Detention Facility on the Tacoma Tideflats.
ICE plans to move its investigation division from its current space at 949 Market St. in Tacoma to the Lakewood office in February, Roman said.
According to a permit filed with the city of Lakewood, the new building is 9,567 square feet in size.
ICE has jurisdiction over immigrants residing in the United States. It is a division of Homeland Security and was created after the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.
Customs and Border Patrol, a separate entity under Homeland Security, has jurisdiction over the borders as well as 100 miles inland from borders and coastlines (roughly three-fourths of Washington State). The agency came under fire recently for separating parents illegally crossing the U.S-Mexico border from their children.
ICE’s Enforcement and Removal Operations has faced its own criticisms after the Trump administration began targeting anyone in the United States illegally under a zero tolerance policy.