Angry residents of Standish, Mich., held a town hall Thursday afternoon to voice opposition to a proposal to move federal detainees from Guantanamo Bay to a maximum security prison there.
"If we put them in Iowa, they would stick out if they got loose," said one attendee, according to Fox News. "But if we put them in Michigan ... they can disappear into a community where we'll never find them."
Standish is about two hours Detroit, which has one of the largest Arab communities in the United States.
"They are enemy combatants," said Tom Kerrins, chief steward for the union representing prison workers at Standish Maximum Correctional Facility. "They want to kill you, they want to kill me, they want to kill our families."
The prison, the chief employer for the town of 1,500, is scheduled to close this year. It would stay open if Gitmo detainees were sent there and, some lawmakers hope, save local jobs.
"We already have a place for them, it works fine," said Michael LeVafour, 49, a laid-off construction worker from the Detroit suburb of Livonia.
The majority at the town hall were opposed to the move, with some carrying signs with slogans. But, the Associated Press reports, the meeting remained peaceful.
There were, however, some who supported the idea. One resident, Brent Snelgrove, said there was the same "hysteria" when the state prison was first opened.
"It turned out to be a good neighbor," he said.