Pulse: The detention question: More from the rally
December 16, 2012 9:38PM
Updated: January 18, 2013 6:15AM
On to Texas
Joliet City Manager Thomas Thanas will travel to Texas to visit an immigration detention center run by Correction Corp. of America, the company that would run a similar facility if it is ever built in Joliet.
Known also by its acronym, CCA has been a central target of opposition to the idea of bringing such a detention center to Joliet. Thanas was at last week’s community meeting, which was more like a rally to stop any detention center from being built in Joliet, when oppenents repeatedly condemned the idea of a privately-run, “for-profit” prison.
Thanas said when it was over that he’s doing his research on the company but has yet to find CCA as bad as critics charge. He already has visited a CCA prison in Nashville with 1,400 inmates.
“I found a very well run prison,” he said. “I didn’t see any evidence of the allegations that were made here tonight.”
Prison of Babel?
Speakers at the community meeting included Raul Munoz, a Joliet resident who said he spent time years ago in a CCA immigrant detention center, and, “The experience I had I don’t even wish to my worst enemy.”
Munoz said he rarely slept because he worried so much about the other inmates. They all spoke different languages, he said.
“I didn’t know why they were there,” Munoz said. “They could be terrorists, very bad criminals. ...They could be people just like me pursuing their American dream.”
Jobs, jobs, jobs
Pastor Craig Purchase from Mt. Zion Full Gospel Tabernacle preached at the meeting on togetherness and jobs.
On Mexicans working in the U.S.: “It’s wrong to use me and have me clean your house, wash your car, do all the jobs you don’t want me to do, and then turn around and kick me out of the country.”
On white folks, black folks and Mexicans, Purchase, who is black, said: “They tell the white guy that the black guy got your job. Now they tell the black guy that the Mexican got your job.”
On jobs at the future detention center: “I’m not going to put my neighbor’s kids in jail because I want a job.”
No detention, no deportation
Many detention center opponents are against any deportation at all, including the Catholic Diocese of Joliet.
Tom Garlitz, director of the diocese’s Office of Human Dignity, said bishops want a “moratorium on deportation” until the U.S. has “comprehensive and compassionate immigration reform.”
Joliet is getting all the heat in the fight to block U.S. Immigration Customs and Enforcement from putting a new detention center in the Chicago area. Basically, it’s because news leaked out that Joliet was interested.
But other towns are said to be pursuing the idea, too, including some in Will County.
Bob Okon contributed to Pulse.