Jobs trump fears of terrorists in Michigan town of Standish [Excerpts]
To many people struggling in this job-starved part of rural Michigan, unemployment is a bigger threat than terrorists.
With unemployment at more than 17 percent, many residents say they would welcome detainees from Guantanamo Bay in order to save the 280 jobs at a prison scheduled to close because of state budget cuts.
“We’ll take the most dangerous prisoners the world has to offer if we have to,” corrections officer Paul Piche said Monday.
The Standish Maximum Correctional Facility and the military penitentiary at Fort Leavenworth, Kan., are possible locations for a heavily guarded site to hold the 229 suspected al-Qaida, Taliban and foreign fighters now jailed at the Guantanamo Bay detention camp in Cuba, senior U.S. officials say.
“Anything that keeps the prison open is fine with me,” said Perry Pelton, owner of Wheeler’s Restaurant on Main Street.
The prison holds about 600 inmates and is the top employer in the community about 145 miles northwest of Detroit.
[TBC: It has been shown that Michigan has the second-largest Arab community in the United States. About 300,000 people of Arab descent live in southeast Michigan, including Iraqi, Lebanese, Yemeni, and those who identity themselves as Palestinians. Nearly two-thirds of the population were born in the United States, and of the remainder, 40 percent of those born overseas have emigrated here since 1980, according to the Arab Community Center for Economic and Social Services (ACCESS) , as reported in the Detroit News.]
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