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Illinois Republicans speak out against possible detainee transfer

By Tony Arnold, WBEZ

Chicago – Federal officials toured a maximum security state prison in western Illinois Monday. They're considering using the facility to house terrorism suspects being held in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. But several Illinois Republican Congressmen continue to denounce the plan.

Illinois' Democratic governor and U.S. senators have backed a plan to use the mostly vacant Thomson Correctional Center to house some Guantanamo inmates.

But Republicans aren't so keen on the idea. Four held a news conference in Chicago on Monday to voice their opposition.

Congressman Mark Kirk said he's not worried about prisoners escaping, but he said potential terrorists would take a closer look at attacking Chicago.

"By bringing them to a U.S. facility and granting them the right to visitation, a flow will now start through O'Hare International Airport, looking at the Sears Tower, which they looked at before," Kirk said. "And I just wonder if this is an acceptable risk that we should take."

Democrats have said bringing the prisoners to the facility would help create some much-needed jobs. They say Republicans are using fear tactics to prevent the transport of prisoners.