Chicago suburb rejects immigrant detention center
CRETE, Ill. (AP) — A Chicago suburb has rejected a plan to build to build a federal immigrant detention center in the community, putting a stop to a project that generated months of protests by residents and immigrant rights activists.
Village trustees in Crete, 35 miles south of Chicago, voted unanimously Monday night to block the project, said Crete President Michael Einhorn, who had hoped the center would bring hundreds of jobs to the community of about 8,000 people.
The move followed a failed attempt last month by Illinois lawmakers to block the detention center.
Federal immigration officials had promoted the proposed facility as a new, more humane place to hold low-risk illegal immigrants slated for deportation. But residents worried that the center would depress their property values and pose a security threat.
"There hasn't been community support for a while," village trustee Daniel Bachert told the Chicago Tribune.
Activists even penned legislation that would have prohibited any privately-run detention centers in Illinois. It sailed through the Illinois Senate but failed in the House.
Still, it appears that objections to the site were widespread.
"Crete is a wonderful small town with antique shops, small businesses and Balmoral racetrack," said U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr., in a statement. "A prison would have changed that image forever."
Officials with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement picked Crete as a potential site for the facility last year, Einhorn said. The plan was to hire a private company called Corrections Corporation of America to build and operate a medium-security facility to house more than 700 immigrants awaiting deportation.
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