Montana Town Wants to Gitmo Jobs, Gitmo Money -- and Maybe Gitmo Problems

President's Obama's pledge to close the prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, has created the ultimate NIMBY problem: Where will we put all the ...
by | May 26, 2009

President's Obama's pledge to close the prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, has created the ultimate NIMBY problem: Where will we put all the displaced detainees?

Presumably, no state in the Union would be eager to accept dozens of suspected terrorists in their backyard.

But one city -- Hardin, Montana -- is welcoming the detainees with open arms, according to CNN:

Hardin, population 3,400, sits in the southeast corner of Montana, in the state's poorest county. Its small downtown is almost deserted at midday. The Dollar Store is going out of business. The Hardin Mini Mall is already shut. The town needs jobs -- and fast.

Hardin borrowed $27 million through bonds to build the Two Rivers Regional Correctional Facility in hopes of creating new employment opportunities. The jail was ready for prisoners two years ago, but has yet to house a single prisoner.

People here say politics in the capital of Helena has kept it empty. But the city council last month voted 5-0 to back a proposal to bring Gitmo detainees -- some of the most hardened terrorists in the world -- to the facility.

The town's idea probably a non-starter. The state's Congressional delegation has lined up in staunch opposition to the idea. And who knows if the the prison is going to be shuttered as Obama wants, anyway?

On the other hand, the whole prisoner-colony thing did seem to work out pretty well for Australia...

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