APPLETON (LEARFIELD) – A company that ran the now-closed private prison in Appleton is reportedly lobbying public officials to turn it into an immigrant detention center, but not everyone in St. Paul is a fan of that decision.

Democratic state Representative Michael Howard says he’ll introduce legislation that would prohibit it.

“When you look at what’s happened at our southern border at some of these facilities, how can that convince anyone who has a heart that this is something that we don’t want to bring to Minnesota,” said Howard.

Howard added they also don’t think for profit companies should be reaping profits putting people in cages.

But Republican Representative Nick Zerwas (ZER-woss) from Elk River says the state should buy the Appleton prison to relieve overcrowding in Minnesota’s prisons and also “help our federal partners.

“The facility itself is absolutely fine and top notch to handle such a mission,” said Zerwas.

Debate has been going on at the legislature for years over the state buying the former Prairie Correctional Facility.