Jobs could be on the way if the midwest becomes the new Gitmo
The move has local leaders seeing dollar signs. Gov. Pat Quinn and U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, both Democrats, told the Daily Herald "the potential sale could be a once-in-a-lifetime economic opportunity to help create about 3,000 jobs in the economically depressed area."
Federal officials from the Federal Bureau of Prisons and the Department of Defense spent Monday inspecting the 8-year-old prison, located about 150 miles southwest of Chicago, which could be purchased by the federal government to house the detainees.
Built in 2001, the Thomson Correctional Center had an original $145 million dollar price tag. If some lawmakers have their way, the "Illini Gitmo" facility could account for $1 billion in economic development to the western region of Illinois.
Although Durbin has been quoted as saying the facility would house fewer than 100 detainees, residents aren't as excited as lawmakers by the economic prospect.
"I don't care how many jobs it creates, it doesn't make sense to house them [the detainees] among Americans," says Diana Turner, a local resident whose husband has been out of work for more than a year. Republican members of Congress from Illinois echo many concerned resident's sentiments citing possible safety concerns.