Durbin, Kirk issue letter on Thomson C.C.
A week after Illinois Republican leaders in Congress issued a letter to President Barack Obama urging him to officially denounce moving Guantanamo Bay terror suspects to the U.S., specifically Thomson Correctional Center in Thomson, U.S. Senators Dick Durbin and Mark Kirk have issued a similar letter to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder.
The letter, issued on March 18, states the lawmakers’ continued determination to pursue the purchase of Thomson C.C. as a federal prison to ease overcrowding, but urged the attorney general to formally announce that no Guantanamo Bay, Cuba detainees be transferred there.
“We seek your written commitment that no suspected terrorists from Guantanamo Bay or elsewhere overseas will be transferred to the Thomson Correctional Center so that Congress can focus its efforts on acquiring and operating Thomson as a maximum-security federal prison,” the letter states.
Kirk and Durbin said that the issue is supported by bipartisan members of the Illinois and Iowa congressional delegations, and that the purchase of Thomson prison would bring “significant job creation” to the area.
Kirk was also a signee of the March 10 letter sent to the president, which included nine U.S. representatives from Illinois, including Rep. Don Manzullo (R-Pecatonica). The March 10 letter reiterated the sentiment that until there is a guarantee from the White House that no Gitmo suspects will be moved to the U.S, the sale of Thomson will not happen.
In the letter to the Attorney General, Kirk and Durbin state that $67 million has been included in the 2012 budget for “second year activation costs for Thomson.” This will go along with the president’s request for $237 million in the 2011 budget to purchase and upgrade Thomson. Though the 2011 budget has yet to be approved, the senators said that it is still amongst the plans for the future.
“We will continue to work to include funding for the acquisition of Thomson exclusively for use as a federal maximum security prison,” the letter stated.
The Illinois Bureau of Prisons closed Thomson Correctional Center in April 2010 to make way for the purchase of the facility by the federal government.