Empty Mississippi Casino Property Could Provide Migrant Housing

Posted on: May 23, 2024, 01:35h. 

Last updated on: May 23, 2024, 01:54h.

The 22-acre property formerly holding Mississippi’s Harrah’s Casino Tunica could become the new home for as many as 2,000 young migrants who entered the US from other countries.

Tunica County Sheriff Calvin “K.C.” Hamp
Tunica County Sheriff Calvin “K.C.” Hamp, pictured above. He has concerns about turning a vacant Mississippi casino property into housing for migrants. (Image: Tunica County Sheriff’s office)

The housing would be for youngsters, ages 17 or younger, whose parents are living elsewhere under the controversial proposal, according to Tennessee TV station WREG.

The complex’s current owners reportedly are discussing the option with representatives from an unnamed organization, which may want to purchase the parcel.

Much of the former casino complex was demolished after the casino was closed in 2014.

‘Hot Button Issue’

The proposal has yet to get backing from the Tunica County Board of Supervisors, the report added.

There could be disagreement over the plan given the emotional debate in places like Illinois and elsewhere over migrants coming into the US, especially at the border with Mexico.

Obviously, anything that deals with immigration is a hot button issue,” county board attorney John Keith Perry told WREG.

“The board, like any other board of supervisors, speaks through its minutes, speaks through its resolutions,” he said. “There has not been any formal action from the board of supervisors.”

Perry claims there would be strict guidelines on the children living in the facility.

You don’t have children that would be out and about for their safety reasons,” Perry told WREG.

There are opponents to the plan, including state Rep. Cedric Burnett (D-9th District), who is also a mortician.

“I think if they located immigrants at that location it would not benefit Tunica, it would not benefit the casinos, it would not benefit the State of Mississippi,” Burnett was quoted by WREG.

Tourism, Gambling Better Use

Burnett would rather see the property used for something close to its original purpose: tourism.

“I think that location should be used to complement the gaming industry,” Burnett said. “You know Tunica is a tourism town, we depend on gaming.”

No Hospital Nearby

Another concern was highlighted by Tunica County Sheriff Calvin “K.C.” Hamp.

We do not have the adequate resources to support or accommodate the Immigrants Initiative. When it concerns public safety, public healthcare, along with child protective services, Tunica County does not have a local hospital in the event of an emergency. We have to transport our patients to area hospitals located in Desoto County, Tate County, Clarksdale and Memphis, Tennessee,” he stated.

Last year, Mississippi became one of 20 states that filed a legal action against the US Department of Homeland Security plan for a pathway to citizenship for hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants nationwide.

According to a recent Congressional document, during the administration of President Joe Biden (D), which began in 2021, there have been over 8 million “migrant encounters” in the US. Some 6.7 million of these were at the southwest border.

In addition, there are over an estimated 1.7M illegal immigrants who were able to avoid border patrol officers and are now residing in the US.