President Preckwinkle defends releasing immigrant detainees

January 13, 2012

Produced by Eight Forty-Eight

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(WBEZ/Bill Healy)
Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle refuses to hold suspected illegal immigrants in County Jail.

Saul Chavez, accused of driving drunk and killing a man, posted bail and was released despite the federal detainer placed on him. He was released under an ordinance passed last year by the Cook County Board--Chavez is now presumed to have left the country.

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle joined Eight Forty-Eight to discuss why she still supports the ordinance and her response to a letter she recently received from the director of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, John Morton, who said the ordinance “undermines public safety in Cook County and hinders ICE’s ability to enforce the nation’s immigration laws.” Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle asked for a study to identify better ways for the county's judges to set bail in criminal cases. She joined Eight Forty-Eight to discuss the hot-button issue. WBEZ's West Side bureau reporter Chip Mitchell, who has been covering the ordinance since last summer, also joined the conversation.