Pritzker could ban Dwight prison plan

May 21, 2019

CHICAGO — Gov. J.B. Pritzker is to consider a measure the state Legislature has approved that would ban privatized immigration detention centers in Illinois.

The Chicago Tribune reports the state Senate last week approved the measure, which the Illinois House passed in April.

The legislation is in response to a vote by community leaders that approved a plan for a privately run immigration detention center in the village of Dwight, which is located 30 miles west of Kankakee in Livingston County.

Pritzker representatives didn’t say if he planned to sign or veto the bill.

Pritzker’s office says he believes Illinois “should be a welcoming state for immigrants” and that he would review the legislation.

If the bill becomes law, it would prohibit the state or any local government from entering into an agreement with a private company over the detention of individuals.

The Dwight Village Board approved the zoning and annexation for the land to build the prison last March at a tense meeting which drew about 200 people, many of whom came from outside the area to protest the plan.

Immigration Centers of American is planning to build the prison at an 88-acre parcel near Interstate 55 and Illinois Route 17. The center would house men awaiting immigration hearings and visa status determinations.

Estimates say the prison would employ about 280 people, mostly full time.

Village officials believe the prison would improve economic conditions in a town which still is overcoming the loss of a state women’s prison several years ago.

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