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Councilman Pushing for Decision on Detention Center

As two Will County Board members publicly announce their opposition, Joliet City Councilman Jim McFarland says the city should decide if it wants to pursue the facility or not.

Two Will County Board members announced Thursday they are opposed to the building of an immigrant detention center in Joliet, and one Joliet councilman is pushing the council to decide if it wants to court the project.

County Board members Reed Bible (D-Plainfield) and Jacqueline Traymere (D-Bolingbrook) said they could not support such a facility, which would be built and operated by a private company on behalf of the U.S. Department of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, a Joliet Herald News story said.

“Placing this type of facility in the hands of private corporations is fraught with difficulties,” said Bible, who spoke at the Thursday press conference.

The event was also attended by newly elected At-large Councilman Jim McFarland, who announced his opposition to the project while running for office this spring.

McFarland told the Herald News that he'd like to see the council discuss the issue, possibly with a presentation by the proposed owner Corrections Corp. of America, more commonly known as CCA, and then vote on whether it wants to push to build the facility.

“This will give us direction to have another meeting to give an up or down vote on whether to proceed with a for-profit prison for the city of Joliet,” McFarland said at the press conference.

In response, Mayor Tom Giarrante issued a statement urging reminding people that a detention center could mean 200 jobs and a $60 million investment, and that no decisions should be made until all of the facts are known.

"As city leaders, we must explore the positives and negatives of any project presented to us and make a decision to proceed or not based on fact -- not innuendo," he said. "If at any time CCA's project is deemed unsuitable for Joliet, it will not be pursued."

The project hinges, in part, on whether Congress passes an immigration reform bill and where in the Chicago CCA chooses to seek permission to build a detention facility, Giarrante said.

Frank Smith May 19, 2013 at 01:57 AM
You're right. The failure to do adequate background screening means that they will be bringing riff raff to work at these low wage, high turnover jobs. The supporters of this harebrained idea could look up the facts but they don't want to be influenced by reality.
Frank Smith May 19, 2013 at 01:58 AM
Actually, most undocumented workers do pay taxes and don't collect refunds to which they would be entitled, if they were legal. But don't let the facts influence your opinions. Why ruin a good record?
Linda Daniels May 19, 2013 at 03:43 AM
Read Frank Smith 's comments : he has researched extensively. He has been actively working to get rid of CCA because its an abusive private corporation who only cares to fill brds- get paid. There are numerous law suits against these people. William Lorch is knowledgeable too. If you blindly believe promises of jobs & taxes you are in magical thinking.
Linda Daniels May 19, 2013 at 03:46 AM
Concerned Citizens of Joliet have been working tirelessly with ICIRR...to get a law passed to be rid of private prisons in IL. For good..lots of people care about how immigrants are treated. U.S. known for bad treatment of immigrants.
William Lorch May 20, 2013 at 01:28 AM
IMHO, someone should take the time to Follow the $'s I wonder who,s Wallet may be getting thicker in city hall; by getting this house of horrors included in tour village ? I 2 want to make this guy a 1 term mayor we don't need this sick thinking. In my opinion the crew attempting to govern had better wake up 2 the fact the economy is compressing," We are out of cheep fuel" I quote that statement from Shell oil. The end of growth is here NOW We need sustainable thinking in city hall there are NO more Parking garages' no more high rise No more "STUFF" That costs energy and requires. My ? is are we going into the future kicking and screaming being drug into it or can we make a easy sustainable transition before mother Nature does it for us????

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