The proposed 800-bed immigration detention center in Crete is drawing the attention of state lawmakers. The state Senate has passed and the House is considering a bill to ban private detention centers in the state. The proposed facility would house federal immigration detainees awaiting adjudication or deportation.
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Fred Tsao of the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights says a new law is needed because the place would not detain criminals. “This is purely for civil detention, and I should note that Illinois law already bars private facilities for correctional purposes, for criminal purposes, so the point of S.B. 1064 is to extend this policy to cover civil detention as well,” he said. The existing immigration detention facilities in Ullin, Broadview and McHenry are run by the federal government. The plan under consideration is for the federal government to contract with the City of Crete to house immigration detainees at a local facility, and Crete is considering allowing a contractor, Corrections Corporation of America, to build and operate the facility that would be needed. S.B. 1064 may come up for a vote in the Illinois House this week.