WBEZ | Michael Einhorn http://www.wbez.org/tags/michael-einhorn Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Crete trustees reject detention center plan http://www.wbez.org/news/crete-trustees-reject-detention-center-plan-100006 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/CreteCouple.jpg" style="margin: 4px 0px 0px 0px; float: left; width: 233px; height: 258px;" title="Village residents in April marched against the project, in which Corrections Corporation of America would have held detainees for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. (WBEZ/Charlie Billups)" /></div><p><em>Updated with reactions from ICE and an immigrant advocate June 12 at 4:47 p.m.</em></p><p>After months of rancor among its leaders and residents, a Chicago suburb has rejected a plan by the country&rsquo;s largest private prison operator to build and run an immigrant detention center.</p><p>A unanimous voice vote of Crete&rsquo;s six trustees Monday night ended village negotiations with Nashville-based Corrections Corporation of America. The vote came just hours after an unsuccessful negotiating session between Crete and CCA officials. Village President Michael Einhorn said the vote blocks the project &ldquo;as of now.&rdquo;</p><p>The decision thrilled residents who have campaigned against the plan since last fall. &ldquo;When lots of little people get together, it&rsquo;s possible that the big guns will listen,&rdquo; said Marimonica Murray, a leader of the group Concerned Citizens of Crete, which led opposition to the detention center.</p><p>Under the proposal, Crete would have contracted with CCA, which would have owned the medium-security facility and held more than 700 foreign nationals awaiting deportation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.</p><p>Crete officials say they first learned about the project from CCA in 2010. ICE announced last summer that the federal agency had &ldquo;tentatively selected&rdquo; Crete for the facility.</p><p>Village officials touted the potential for scores of permanent jobs. They also talked up expected taxes and per-detainee payments for the village.</p><p>But the proposal met stiff resistance from Crete residents worried that the detention center would drag down property values, stretch village services too thin and threaten public safety. Those residents aligned with immigrant advocates who said CCA treated its detainees and workers poorly. The company disputed those claims.</p><p>Illinois legislation that would have derailed the project sailed through the Senate in March. The bill would have banned government agencies at the local and state levels from contracting with private firms to build or run civil detention centers. A close House floor vote last month defeated the measure.</p><p>After Crete trustees turned down the planned detention center, a written statement from company spokesman Steven Owen called the outcome &ldquo;disappointing to the taxpayers, job seekers and local businesses that stood to benefit from this economic boost.&rdquo; The statement said the company &ldquo;will continue to work closely with ICE in meeting their needs in the region.&rdquo;</p><p>A statement Tuesday from President Barack Obama&rsquo;s administration says ICE will review proposals for a detention center elsewhere in the Chicago area. The statement says a facility would help improve the confinement conditions and &ldquo;allow for some consolidation of detainees closer to their place of apprehension and immigration proceedings.&rdquo;</p><p>Fred Tsao, policy director of the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, said the administration instead ought to use its Crete setback as an opportunity to allow more immigration violators to remain in their homes. &ldquo;Why is ICE keeping these thousands of people in detention at great expense to taxpayers when many of these individuals pose no threat to the community?&rdquo; Tsao asked.</p></p> Mon, 11 Jun 2012 22:24:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/crete-trustees-reject-detention-center-plan-100006 Crete leader slams Chicago immigrant activists http://www.wbez.org/eight-forty-eight/2012-04-12/crete-leader-slams-chicago-immigrant-activists-97809 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://www.wbez.org/" alt="" /><p><div class="image-insert-image "><img class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/march_1.jpg" style="margin: 6px 0px 0px 1px; float: left; width: 228px; height: 343px;" title="Marchers arrive Sunday afternoon in Crete after a three-day trek from Chicago. (WBEZ/Charlie Billups)"></div><p><span style="font-size:11px;"><em>Listen to Chip Mitchell discuss this story on </em>Eight Forty-Eight</span></p><div class="mediaelement-audio"><audio class="mediaelement-formatter-identified-1333389318-1" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/120402%20a%20-%20chip.mp3">&nbsp;</audio></div><p>&nbsp;</p><p>The leader of a Chicago suburb where a private company wants to build an immigrant detention center says he and other town officials are having a hard time gauging public support for the plan because Chicago-based protesters have come in and whipped people “into a frenzy.”</p><p>“I’m not responsible to the people of Little Village,” said Crete President Michael Einhorn, referring to a heavily immigrant Chicago neighborhood where a three-day march against the proposal began Friday. “I’m not responsible for anybody else except the people who live inside the boundaries of this town.</p><p>“But the outside interference and the outside noise has made it extremely difficult for any municipal official to develop a clear and concise feeling for how the people we are responsible for are feeling because the people who are in favor of it are not beating my door down and putting signs in their yard,” Einhorn said.</p><p>The proposal is for Crete, a village 30 miles from downtown Chicago, to contract with Nashville-based Corrections Corporation of America to build and run the detention center. The 788-bed facility would hold U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement detainees awaiting deportation.</p><p>Einhorn and other village officials have talked up the project’s expected jobs and tax benefits as well as an opportunity for Crete to receive per-detainee payments. But the village has yet to negotiate a contract with the company or approve the facility.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/march_2_0.jpg" style="margin: 9px 0px 6px 1px; float: left; width: 228px; height: 293px;" title="Crete President Michael Einhorn talks up the proposal’s expected jobs and the payments the village would receive for each detainee. (WBEZ/Charlie Billups)"></div><p>The 40 marchers increased their numbers over the three days. By Sunday afternoon, when they reached a rural Crete parcel proposed for the project, their ranks had swelled to about 250. They ranged from seasoned immigrant advocates to youths donning handkerchief masks, self-described anarchists, Mexican-born mothers pushing strollers and longtime Crete residents fretting about their property values and whether the village would share liability for the facility’s operations.</p><p>Some Crete residents voiced concerns beyond their own interests. Warehouse company owner Thomas Tynan, 63, said the detention center proposal should call attention to a federal policy of deporting hundreds of thousands of immigrants a year. “There needs to be a way that people who come to this country and want to work and want to become citizens can do that,” he said.</p><p>Tynan even likened immigrant detention centers to concentration camps during World War II. “If I was living then, what would I do?” he asked. “This is an opportunity for people to show what they would do.”</p><p>The Crete proposal is part of an ICE push to improve conditions in immigrant detention centers. That push follows a series of alleged human rights abuses in ICE facilities, including some run by CCA, the Nashville company.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/march_3.jpg" style="margin: 0px 0px 0px 1px; float: left; width: 341px; height: 310px;" title="On the site of the proposed detention center, Crete resident Dan Taylor says the facility would hurt the village’s finances. (WBEZ/Charlie Billups)"></div><p>Illinois state senators last Wednesday approved a bill sponsored by Sen. Antonio Muñoz (D-Chicago) that aims to block the Crete plan. The measure, <a href="http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/BillStatus.asp?DocNum=1064&amp;GAID=11&amp;DocTypeID=SB&amp;SessionID=84&amp;GA=97">Senate Bill 1064</a>, would make Illinois one of the nation’s first states to ban local governments and state agencies from contracting with private companies to build or run civil detention centers. The bill would broaden an Illinois statute banning privately built or operated state prisons and county jails.</p><p>The bill’s supporters acknowledge that Illinois cannot stop the federal government from contracting directly with private entities to build or run a detention center in the state.</p><p>After the measure’s Senate approval, Reps. Edward Acevedo (D-Chicago) and Elizabeth Hernandez (D-Cicero) introduced the House version. Its supporters say they will push for quick passage when the legislature returns from a recess April 17.</p><p>Some House Republicans are vowing to oppose the measure. Neither House Speaker Michael Madigan (D-Chicago) nor Gov. Pat Quinn has taken a stand on it.</p><p><em><strong>See many more images of the march to Crete and village President Michael Einhorn at photographer <a href="http://charliebillups.photoshelter.com/gallery/Crete-Illinois-detention-center-opposition-march/G0000t9QgeeLrqGA">Charlie Billups</a>’ site.</strong></em></p></p> Mon, 02 Apr 2012 07:57:55 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/eight-forty-eight/2012-04-12/crete-leader-slams-chicago-immigrant-activists-97809