Crete group vows to keep fighting detention center plans
June 1, 2012 11:22PM
Updated: July 7, 2012 8:08AM
Although a bill designed to kill plans for a privately run immigrant detention center in Crete failed Thursday night in the Illinois House, a group that opposes the facility will continue its efforts to halt the project, the group said Friday.
The Concerned Citizens of Crete and Neighboring Communities said in a news release they would continue a “canvassing, education and petition drive” and they were encouraged that people whose signatures they’ve collected are against the project by an 11 to 1 ratio.
“We will continue to dialog with our elected officials about the risks of the prison project and positive alternatives for economic development in Crete,” the release said.
The bill, which was defeated 58 to 57 in the House, would ban private companies from building or running detention centers, mirroring a similar state ban regarding the operation of prisons.
Corrections Corporation of America wants to build a detention facility in Crete for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement that would house more than 750 detainees awaiting deportation.
The Concerned Citizens of Crete blamed the defeat on “well-financed” efforts by CCA lobbyists while praising state Rep. Anthony DeLuca (D-Chicago Heights), who voted for the measure.
“We are heartened by the integrity and courage” of DeLuca, the statement said, because he “recognized publicly during the floor debate that the citizens of Crete overwhelmingly oppose the building of a for-profit detention center in our community.
“Crete residents have done their homework on the issue,” the statement said. “We know that academic research documents many negative social and economic effects of prisons on small communities: lower property values, suppressed economic development, higher expenditures on public safety and infrastructure, and devaluation of a community’s public image. In addition, the decent and fair-minded citizens of Crete have grave misgivings about partnering in profits from an industry that makes money off of confining human beings in a dysfunctional immigration system.”