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Emerald Proposes a Private Immigrant Detention Center in Caldwell County

Yet another private immigrant detention center is being proposed in Texas, this time in the central Texas county of Caldwell County. Private prison operator Emerald Corrections, a Louisiana-based company that operates three private detention centers in Texas, is proposing the facility. According to an article in Monday's Houston Chronicle,

Emerald's proposal calls for a $30 million, 1,000-bed facility to built between Lytton Springs and Dale, about 30 miles southeast of Austin. The facility would house men and women separately for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, said Mike Moore, director of business development for Emerald.

Funding would come from private sources. The facility would have a $4 million to $5 million annual payroll, bring 200 to 225 jobs in Caldwell County and 200 jobs for the larger economic region, Moore said.

"I think it's a great proposal," said County Commissioner Joe Roland. "It's a lot of money in Caldwell County that we didn't have."

Caldwell County officials might want to talk to residents of LaSalle County, home to one of the Emerald's other detention centers in the small town of Encinal. The Economic Development Corporation there issued a statement opposing expansion of that prison facility siting concerns that the community would become known as a prison town.

While a piece by Austin American Statesman reporter Susannah Gonzales quotes Emerald spokesperson Mike Moore as saying that "Caldwell County is a perfect place," Immigration and Customs Enforcement, per usual, is not committing saying only that "no such discussions have taken place in any meaningful sense."

We'll keep you updated on developments from Caldwell County.

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