Protest march to Crete detention center planned

2012-03-21T10:47:00Z 2012-03-21T22:15:27Z Protest march to Crete detention center plannedBy Gregory Tejeda Times Correspondent nwitimes.com
March 21, 2012 10:47 am  • 

Latino immigration activists are planning a protest march from Chicago's Little Village neighborhood to Crete in opposition to a proposed detention facility there.

The walk, organized by the Moratorium on Deportations Campaign, will begin March 30 at the Our Lady of Guadalupe Mission, 3442 W. 26th St. in Chicago. Organizers estimate the walk will take three days to complete and will culminate on April 1 with a protest rally at the proposed detention center site northeast of the Balmoral Park racetrack.

Jose Herrera, one of the protest march organizers, said the event will start with about 50 people and will gain more marchers during a rally to be held at Cook County Jail. Herrera said the march also could grow along the route as it passes through the city into south suburbs, including Homewood and Chicago Heights.

Herrera said his organization has reached out to the Concerned Citizens of Crete, which also opposes the detention center. The activists are expecting local residents to join in their rally when they arrive in Crete.

The exact route has yet to be determined, Herrera said, adding that officials are working to ensure they are not met with hostility during the march.

Organizers say they will include the Cook County Jail at 26th Street and California Avenue in their route because of objections to County Board members' push to allow the Sheriff's Department to use the jail to detain people for Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

"We're not pleased with Cook County's collaboration with ICE," Herrera said. "We want to put a stop to this possible collaboration."

Crete officials are considering a proposal by Nashville, Tenn.-based Corrections Corporation of America to build and operate a detention center to hold people facing violations of federal immigration law.

Such facilities are intended to keep immigration law violators from being detained at county jails across the U.S.

If built, the Crete facility would serve the Chicago area. Officials are pushing for similar facilities in California, Florida, New Jersey and Texas.

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