Reporting Bob Roberts
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CHICAGO (CBS) — About 50 immigration rights activists are staging a 48-hour walk from Chicago’s Little Village neighborhood to far south suburban Crete. Their purpose: to protest a proposed immigration detention center.
The marchers range in age from youngsters to people in their 60s. One woman pushed a toddler in a stroller Friday night. Some hoisted signs reading “Dignity, not deportation,” “Money for college, not detention,” and “No more cages.”
Not all are from Hispanic immigrant families. Kathy is a long-time Crete resident who says Village President Michael Einhorn has betrayed the community.
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“We have trusted him up until now and that’s why he’s been re-elected,” she said during a stop outside of the Cook County Criminal Courts complex. “We’re not sure after this how much we trust him.”
Einhorn has said that Crete stands to benefit financially from construction of the facility.
Immigration activists say they see the detention center as a prison without due process.
Rozalinda Borcila, an organizer with the Moratorium on Deportations Campaign, said she expected a more comprehensive approach to immigration.
“Immigrant rights activists have been asking for immigration reform and instead we’ve received immigrant detention reform and that’s not what we’ve been asking the Obama administration to consider,” she said.
Other opponents from the Crete area, including Anthony Rayson of Monee, say it would destroy the fabric of a 180-year-old community.
“We’re not Menard. We’re not Pinckneyville. This is not Tamms. Crete is a legitimate farm community,” he said. “It’s one year older than Chicago. We’re not desperate. We’re not dying for money.”
To date, the village has not signed a formal contract with the Corrections Corp. of America, the private prison operator that would build and manage the facility for the federal Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement.