U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement has shared exclusively with The Daily Caller descriptions of three violent illegal immigrants recently released from custody in Cook County, Ill., instead of being forwarded to immigration jails and processed for deportation.
Releases like these became commonplace following the Board of Commissioners’ approval of a controversial ordinance that effectively — and immediately — ended the Chicago-area county’s participation in ICE “detainer” orders.
When the ordinance was debated in September, backers warned against the needless deportation of poor migrant workers ticketed for speeding one day and expelled from the United States the next. Instead, ICE spokeswoman Gail Montenegro told TheDC, the new law has quickly become associated with vicious criminal aliens released back into Chicago communities as soon as they can post bail.
“A 32-year-old Mexican national charged with a felony and traffic offenses after running a red light and then punching the police officer who arrested him, sending the officer to the hospital. On Sept. 7, 2011, he was released from Cook County despite an immigration detainer.
“A 28-year-old Mexican national arrested in September and charged with criminal trespass to vehicles (misdemeanor), aggravated battery of a peace officer (felony), and battery-cause bodily harm (misdemeanor). She was released from Cook County two days after her arrest despite an immigration detainer.
“A 33-year-old Mexican national arrested in September and charged with felony possession of cocaine. He was previously deported by the Border Patrol on Feb. 27, 2009 under an expedited removal order; that removal order would have been reinstated by ICE. He was released from Cook County on the day after his arrest despite an immigration detainer. Re-entry after deportation is a felony punishable by up to 20 years in federal prison.”
Putting criminal aliens on ICE
Among ICE’s tools for identifying and removing illegal immigrants, a criminal detainer — a sort of red flag for immigration violators — is both common and efficient. When arrestees are processed by police into municipal courts, those who are subject to detainers are held, normally for up to two business days, even if they make bail or finish their jail sentences.
ICE agents can then pick them up and proceed with immigration charges.
A variety of different investigative programs, including “Secure Communities,” can generate ICE detainers. The Obama administration has touted that program as the centerpiece of tough new policies which have led to record numbers of deportations. But the American Civil Liberties Union and other liberal advocacy organizations have claimed the Secure Communities program is used to target illegal immigrants who violate traffic laws and other minor ordinances.
In large part because so many ICE detainers originated from the Secure Communities program, the Cook County Board — which consistently has a Democratic majority — voted 10–5 to stop cooperating with the federal government. Immediately, the county sheriff was directed to deny requests for immigration detainers unless ICE began footing the bill for housing inmates during those two-day holds.
The same ordinance also directed the sheriff to deny ICE agents access to inmates unless they arrive with a criminal warrant.