On Tuesday the Dwight Planning comission had their meeting to decide whether to recommend a proposed Immigration Detention facility for approval or not recomment the item.
After a three hour meeting, which included testimony of residents from all over Illinois, the commission decided to reccommend the facility be approved by the board on February 25th.
Over 25 people spoke out at the meeting stating the facility is wrong both ethically and morally. But, afterward the lawyer representing Immigration Centers of America, the company behind the facility, spoke on the issue.
He said 10 years ago, Congress brainstormed to find a better way to house immigrants trying to find a better life, adding they should not have to live in jail like a criminal. He went on to say, because of this the detention facility was born, as an upgrade from a county jail.
“In essence somebody whose only fault is coming to this country has to sit in jail before the civil issue on whether they can stay here or not is heard,” said Attorney Frank Cortina. “So Congress acted, Congress said no, we have to have better standards, we have to create detention facilities so that these people do not have to be held in jail.”
In a deal between Immigration Centers of America and Dwight, the village would get a dollar per day per detainee. That money, Dwight Village President Jared Anderson says, will be used to upgrade the village’s sewage system.
But citizens did not believe that this proposed all male facility could possibly be an upgrade. Some claimed the private company behind this, Immigration Centers of America, has played a hand in the death and disappearance of children in other detention facilities.
“There’s literally immigrant children dying in their custody,” said Sonny Garcia, Bloomington resident with Illinois People’s Action. “There’s literally thousands of kids that have disappeared from their view and we think we can do better in the state of Illinois in Dwight and in this nation.”
The Dwight Village Board will meet on Monday, February 25th to fine tune the details of the agreement and hear more testimony from residents who are oppossed to the facility.
However, even if the Dwight Village Board approves the item then, there’s a possibility the Village may not be chosen as the site for the facility.
Currently, Immigration Customs and Enforcement has not issued a contract with Immigration Centers of America for the proposed building and in a statement said they have no plans to announce a new I.C.E Facility in Illinois.
The statement went on to add “…Additionally, I.C.E does not keep unaccompanied children in our custody, though we do maintain some families in custody together, That is a US Customs and Border Protection/US Border Patrol issue…”