Two Will County Board members announced Thursday they are opposed to the building of an immigrant detention center in Joliet, and one Joliet councilman is pushing the council to decide if it wants to court the project.
County Board members Reed Bible (D-Plainfield) and Jacqueline Traymere (D-Bolingbrook) said they could not support such a facility, which would be built and operated by a private company on behalf of the U.S. Department of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, a Joliet Herald News story said.
“Placing this type of facility in the hands of private corporations is fraught with difficulties,” said Bible, who spoke at the Thursday press conference.
The event was also attended by newly elected At-large Councilman Jim McFarland, who announced his opposition to the project while running for office this spring.
McFarland told the Herald News that he'd like to see the council discuss the issue, possibly with a presentation by the proposed owner Corrections Corp. of America, more commonly known as CCA, and then vote on whether it wants to push to build the facility.
“This will give us direction to have another meeting to give an up or down vote on whether to proceed with a for-profit prison for the city of Joliet,” McFarland said at the press conference.
In response, Mayor Tom Giarrante issued a statement urging reminding people that a detention center could mean 200 jobs and a $60 million investment, and that no decisions should be made until all of the facts are known.
"As city leaders, we must explore the positives and negatives of any project presented to us and make a decision to proceed or not based on fact -- not innuendo," he said. "If at any time CCA's project is deemed unsuitable for Joliet, it will not be pursued."
The project hinges, in part, on whether Congress passes an immigration reform bill and where in the Chicago CCA chooses to seek permission to build a detention facility, Giarrante said.