A proposed civil detention center in Crete is facing mounting opposition as legislation to ban such centers moves closer to passage. Bill proponents say conditions at the centers, used to detain alleged illegal immigrants until they’re adjudicated, are deplorable. Sister JoAnn Persch, a human rights activist, says making money off that is unconscionable.
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“We can’t bear the thought that a private company would work to keep people locked up in order to make a profit,” she says. Opponents of the bill say those allegations are untrue, and such an enterprise would make millions annually in property tax revenue, as well as putting a $12 million payroll into the community. The measure passed a House committee and heads to the floor for consideration. If approved there with no changes, it would go to the governor. The bill has already passed in the Senate. The state already bans private operation of prisons for correctional purposes. In this case, the detainees envisioned for the facility would be there for alleged immigration violations, which are civil in nature. They would not be accused of any crimes.