What are the connections between the proposed immigration detention center in Crete, a small town just south of Chicago, and an international military alliance?
Lots, say a group of activists connecting the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to immigration issues in Chicago.
A protest outside of Immigration and Customs Enforcement in downtown Chicago, said Crystal Vance Guerra, was designed to bring attention to how "foreign wars affect us here at home."
The coming NATO summit, and the media attention it brings, is being used by groups around the city to highlight the injustices affecting their communities. The week of action leading up to start of meetings May 20 includes protests around the environment, education and housing rights.
The argument against spending billions of dollars to support NATO operations, a specific position voiced by thousands in Chicago, is also being used against plans for the new detention facility in Crete.
"It's a matter of priorities when our communities are suffering," said Megan Selby, who has been working against the Crete center.
The plan to build the detention facility began in late 2010, according to a white paper obtained by The Chicago Reporter.
Community anger against it began growing soon after, and Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr., whose 2nd District is just north of Crete, came out against the plan.
As the Reporter found, the center threatened to violate a long-term Illinois edict against public prisons run by private business.
The Crete facility would be run by the Corrections Corporation of America, the biggest private-sector operator of prisons in the country.
Whether the detention center will ever be built is still up in the air.
In March, the Illinois Senate passed SB1064, which blocked the building of the center, but the legislation has yet to pass the House.