Federal officials have decided to build a privately owned immigration detention facility in Crete, Illinois, a suburb 30 miles outside Chicago, but residents have raised objections to the facility.
The 788-bed facility would be built and maintained by a private company, Corrections Corporation of America but cannot move forward unless they get the vote of the village board. The state of Illinois has a ban on prisons or jails run by private corporations.
Some residents of Crete are opposed to the notion that a private company would profit of the suffering of others. These detention facilities house illegal immigrants who are awaiting deportation or an impending trial, where their immigration attorneys may be able to get them asylum or deferment.
“What this is about is a multibillion-dollar corporation that is trying to set up shop here in Illinois to make profits off human misery,” said Fred Tsao of the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights.
Another concern for Crete residents is if the facility would be abandoned if immigration laws change, driving down home and property values.
While some residents are opposed to the detention facility, others see it as an opportunity to create over 200 jobs in their community.
The new facility in Crete is part of an ongoing effort on the part of Immigration and Customs Enforcement to centralize immigration detention facilities. They have reduced the number of these facilities from 350 in 2009 to 250, presently.
Millions of immigrants in the county who have not utilized experienced immigration lawyers to get them work visas or naturalization and must be held while they go through due process. But people don’t like having these facilities in their neighborhoods.
Detention and deportation is often the fate of many illegal residents. This can be avoided as long as these individuals allow immigration attorneys to obtain HB-1 visas, temporary work visas and eventual citizenship for them.