IL “New Guantanamo” Backers See Prison As Economic Boost


The Obama administration will decide within six weeks whether to make Illinois’ Thomson Correctional Center the “new Guantanamo,” housing dozens of suspected foreign fighters, reports the Washington Post. One source said, “Thomson is at the top of the list and something would have to knock it off.” It’s not a unanimous choice: Rep. Mark Kirk (R-IL.) and six Republican colleagues urged Obama “to stop any plan to transfer Al Qaeda terrorists to our state.”

Sen. Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) called the prison, built eight years ago for $145 million, “vastly underutilized” in a county with 10.5 percent unemployment. “With up to 3,000 jobs on the line, this could be the biggest jobs creator in northwest Illinois since I’ve held elected office,” he said. The state never has used more than a small fraction of the 1,600 beds.

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