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Caldwell County Commissioner Pitches Emerald Detention Center Idea

Caldwell County Commissioner Joe Roland is quoted repeatedly in an article in Thursday's San Marcos Record promoting the idea of a private 1,000-bed detention center in rural Caldwell County to be operated by Emerald . According to the story, local residents don't need to be concerned about the prison because "they aren’t hard core criminals, after all. Just people who crossed a border in order to make a better life."

As we reported last week, Emerald and its supporters have said that the facility would hold Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detainees. However, ICE is not commenting on such speculation. ICE Spokesperson Nina Pruneda was quoted in the Austin American-Statesman as saying "no such discussions have taken place in any meaningful sense."

Of course, the larger question is why the government is spending so much money to incarcerate "people who crossed a border to make a better life." As we've reported, private prison corporations are benefiting handsomely from punitive border policies.

Luckily, public hearings are scheduled before the County moves forward in approving the detention center project. I've already heard from several people concerned about the prison, so we will probably see some lively public debate on this issue. We'll keep you informed on what's happening in Caldwell County.