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March in Opposition to Immigrant Detention Center Saturday

A group trying to stop Joliet from considering any deal with the Corrections Corporation of America is organizing the event, which is to be attended by U.S. Reps. Bill Foster and Luis Gutierrez.

Two U.S. Congressmen will be joining members of the Joliet anti-immigrant detention center group when they rally and march April 6 to the Will County clerk's office, where people will be able to register to vote.

The Joliet event, which will be attended by U.S. Reps. Bill Foster and Luis Guiterrez, both Democrats, begins at 1 p.m. at the Azteco de Oro restaurant at 1013 Collins St. and ends at 302 N. Chicago St.

Since November, people opposed to the possibility of a detention center being built in Joliet have been attending Joliet City Council meetings and organizing events, including a public forum, to organize support against the proposal.

However, there's no formal plan to build a detention center in Joliet. City Manager Tom Thanas has met with representatives of the Corrections Corporation of America about a detention center the private company would like to build in the Chicago area, but no proposal has been submitted.

Were the center to be built in Joliet, it would mean construction and permanent jobs, but opponents say it would also target local illegal immigrants. That would be disastrous for families who could be separated, opponents say, and for the local economy, because illegal immigrants who live and work here would likely move.

CCA had planned to build a detention center in Crete, but organized opposition persuaded the government there to reject it. Locally, opponents are trying to be proactive and prevent it from even being proposed.

In addition to the rally and weekly statements presented at the bi-monthly council meetings, the group is also preparing a petition signed by 4,500 people to presented to the city at a later date.

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