White House: Gitmo transfers mean jobs

Nov. 22, 2009 at 4:17 PM

THOMSON, Ill., Nov. 22 (UPI) -- Thousands of jobs would be created in Illinois if the U.S. government purchases a nearly empty prison there to house terror detainees, a study indicates.

The study, performed by the Obama White House Council of Economic Advisers and obtained by The Chicago Sun-Times, asserted that 2,290 to 2,960 jobs would be created in and around Thomson, Ill., in the first year after its conversion to house some of the prisoners now held at the Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, detention facility, the newspaper reported Sunday.

Local residents in the Illinois-Iowa border town would be "good candidates" to fill 1,240 to 1,410 of those jobs, the report indicated.

The newspaper published the results of the study as Sens. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., and Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, toured the Thomson facility and met with local officials. Durbin has said the prison could be refurbished to house as many as 100 of the 215 remaining Guantanamo detainees.

The Sun-Times said report estimated that the U.S. Bureau of Prisons would take up 75 percent of the facility and the Defense Department would use 25 percent of the space for the detainees -- essentially two "entirely separate facilities side by side."

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