WBEZ | Jesús García http://www.wbez.org/tags/jes%C3%BAs-garc%C3%ADa Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Defeated at the polls 17 years ago, Chuy's real test was about to begin http://www.wbez.org/news/defeated-polls-17-years-ago-chuys-real-test-was-about-begin-111812 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/Garcia 2 RECTANGLE.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><em>Editor&rsquo;s Note: A broadcast version of this story juxtaposed Jesus &ldquo;Chuy&rdquo; Garcia&rsquo;s 1998 decision to move to a nonprofit job with Rahm Emanuel&rsquo;s move around that time into banking. The comparison lacked context. The text on this page does not include that passage but we have <a href="https://www.scribd.com/doc/260718064/Defeated-at-the-polls-17-years-ago-Chuy-s-test-was-about-to-begin" target="_blank">posted the transcript</a> of the broadcast version.</em></p><p>In the closing stretch of Chicago&rsquo;s mayoral race, parts of Jesus &ldquo;Chuy&rdquo; Garcia&rsquo;s past are under scrutiny. This week Mayor Rahm Emanuel accused his challenger of running up a deficit at a nonprofit group he once led in the city&rsquo;s Little Village neighborhood.</p><p>But there&rsquo;s a chapter of Garcia&rsquo;s career that tested something more fundamental &mdash; whether he&rsquo;s the neighborhood guy he makes himself out to be. Garcia&nbsp;told WBEZ about it between campaign events a few days ago.</p><p>The year was 1998, when Garcia&nbsp;was a two-term Illinois state senator in the 1st District, which spanned Little Village and parts of neighborhoods nearby.</p><p>Garcia&nbsp;was undefeated at the ballot box. In almost a dozen contests &mdash; for the senate seat, for the 22nd Ward committeeman post and for the ward&rsquo;s City Council seat &mdash; no one had beaten him.</p><p>He assumed he would add another win to his record in the year&rsquo;s Democratic primary as he sought reelection to the senate. He faced Antonio Muñoz, a little-known Chicago cop who did not have much political experience and did not speak much Spanish.</p><p>Garcia&nbsp;eventually discovered what Muñoz did have: &ldquo;A massive army on the street.&rdquo; This army, the Hispanic Democratic Organization, was part of Mayor Richard M. Daley&rsquo;s political operation.</p><p>Some of the troops went door-to-door. &ldquo;They would say, &lsquo;Hey, is anybody here unemployed? Does anybody here need a job?&rsquo; &rdquo; Garcia&nbsp;recalled. &ldquo;And if there was someone unemployed, they would say, &lsquo;OK, we&rsquo;re hiring you starting today. And then, once the campaign is over, we&rsquo;re going to get you a city job.&rsquo; &rdquo;<br /><br />On Election Day, HDO&rsquo;s show of force was overwhelming. &ldquo;There were tons of city workers, outnumbering us 40-to-1 at a polling place,&rdquo; recalled Sonia Silva, then a state representative aligned with Garcia. &ldquo;They wore city of Chicago gear and drove cars paid for by the city taxpayers.&rdquo;<br /><br />Muñoz won with almost 54 percent of the vote.<br /><br />&ldquo;There was a real shock,&rdquo; Garcia&nbsp;said. &ldquo;We were all at a loss to understand how it could be lost.&rdquo;<br /><br />After the election, Garcia&rsquo;s neighborhood critics claimed he had it coming.<br /><br />&ldquo;He thought that he couldn&rsquo;t lose because [he] thought that you had to speak Spanish to represent the Latino community,&rdquo; recalled August Sallas, a former typographical union leader who ran against Garcia in earlier elections. &ldquo;That, in my opinion, is arrogant.&rdquo;<br /><br />Sallas was not the only one blaming Garcia.<br /><br />Howard Ehrman, a physician who helped form the Little Village Environmental Justice Organization, pointed to Garcia&rsquo;s tenure as 22nd Ward alderman beginning in 1986. Ehrman said Garcia ran the ward&rsquo;s independent political organization top-down, which drove some supporters away, leaving Garcia more and more vulnerable.<br /><br />By the time Garcia faced Muñoz in 1998, Ehrman said, &ldquo;the organization probably had a fourth of the members going door to door for Chuy as compared to the first time he got elected.&rdquo;<br /><br />Garcia said his own people were pointing fingers too. &ldquo;Whose fault was it? Who in the campaign went to sleep?&rdquo; Garcia recalled the conversations. &ldquo;Somebody should be held responsible for it. Somebody should catch the blame.&rdquo;<br /><br />Garcia took the defeat personally. &ldquo;I took it as a rejection,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;I said, &lsquo;How could people reject someone who had worked to be a full-time legislator, not have any other employment that I was pursuing, working for a pretty modest salary, who speaks at community gatherings?&rsquo; &rdquo;<br /><br />After the election loss, Garcia still had more than nine months in his Senate term. But Marcelo Gaete, his longtime chief of staff, decided it was time to pull up stakes.<br /><br />&ldquo;I&rsquo;m not going to be there for the rest of your term,&rdquo; Gaete recalled telling Garcia. &ldquo;I&rsquo;m going to just start fresh and go to Los Angeles. And he was supportive. But there was a part of me that felt guilt.&rdquo;<br /><br />Garcia&rsquo;s whole world was upside down. He could hardly make sense of it. &ldquo;I went through a lot of funk,&rdquo; he said.</p><p>And then something helped Garcia put everything into perspective.<br /><br />Garcia had gone one afternoon to his parents&rsquo; place for lunch. His father told him he kept getting asked a question in the neighborhood: &ldquo;Why did Chuy lose? Why did your son lose?&rdquo;<br /><br />And Garcia&rsquo;s father answered, &ldquo;He lost because he had to lose eventually.&rdquo;<br /><br />&ldquo;When he told me that,&rdquo; Garcia recalled, &ldquo;I thought, that&rsquo;s just so simple, but it also came to be a practical way of looking at myself &mdash; to not take myself so seriously.&rdquo;<br /><br />&ldquo;Sometimes circumstances and the environment play a role in your life,&rdquo; Garcia said. &ldquo;It doesn&rsquo;t define you as a person forever. And the most important thing to do is to accept it and move on. And if you&rsquo;ve got something good, still, to contribute, you&rsquo;re going to be able to do that.&rdquo;<br /><br />After that talk with his father, Garcia said he started thinking less about the defeat and more about what he could still contribute. And, as he served out the rest of his Senate term, he started getting job offers.<br /><br />He said a lot of offers would have made him a lobbyist and he would have earned &ldquo;a lot of money quickly.&rdquo;<br /><br />&ldquo;And some banks wanted to hire me to do outreach, to do public relations, to use my name,&rdquo; Garcia said. &ldquo;And I spoke to some people about it. I wanted to hear them out [and learn] how you begin being a lobbyist and what you have to do to keep the job.&rdquo;<br /><br />Garcia decided it was not for him.<br /><br />He was talking, meanwhile, with people at the Little Village Community Development Corp., a fledgling nonprofit that later changed its name to Enlace Chicago after the Spanish word for &ldquo;link.&rdquo;<br /><br />&ldquo;They came to me and they started pitching to me: &lsquo;Hey, this organization has a lot of potential. You could be the founding executive director. It&rsquo;s going to do all kinds of projects in the neighborhood,&rsquo; &rdquo; Garcia recalled.<br /><br />He took the job. Over the next decade, with Garcia at the helm, Enlace took on gang violence, helped folks learn English and get their GEDs, and helped win the neighborhood a new high school and new parks.</p><p>Enlace has come up in the mayor&rsquo;s race. Debating Garcia on Tuesday night, Mayor Rahm Emanuel referred to the group. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s a great organization and it does good work,&rdquo; he said.<br /><br />But the mayor quickly added that Garcia &ldquo;left it in deficit.&rdquo; Emanuel pointed to red ink in 2009, the year Garcia stepped down as executive director. The mayor said that deficit raises doubts about his challenger&rsquo;s ability to manage the city budget &mdash; a much larger responsibility.</p><p>Garcia responded that Enlace&rsquo;s deficit was short-lived and that it stemmed from the recession, a time when many nonprofits were hurting.<br /><br />The debate didn&rsquo;t settle much about Garcia&rsquo;s financial acumen.</p><p>And Garcia says it&rsquo;s not the only issue on which to judge him. In the WBEZ interview, he pointed to the way he responded to losing his State Senate back in 1998.</p><p>&ldquo;The fact that I didn&rsquo;t go corporate,&rdquo; Garcia said, &ldquo;tells you that my interest in figuring out how to make neighborhoods more livable, more relevant &mdash; how you develop leadership in neighborhoods to be able to do that &mdash; has remained a passion of mine.&rdquo;</p><p>A question for Chicago voters next Tuesday is whether a neighborhood guy like Garcia is fit to lead the whole city.</p><p><em><a href="http://www.wbez.org/users/cmitchell-0">Chip Mitchell</a> is WBEZ&rsquo;s West Side bureau reporter. Follow him on Twitter <a href="https://twitter.com/ChipMitchell1">@ChipMitchell1</a> and <a href="https://twitter.com/WBEZoutloud">@WBEZoutloud</a>, and connect with him through <a href="https://www.facebook.com/chipmitchell1">Facebook</a>, <a href="https://plus.google.com/111079509307132701769" rel="me">Google+</a> and <a href="http://www.linkedin.com/in/ChipMitchell1">LinkedIn</a>.</em></p></p> Thu, 02 Apr 2015 12:53:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/defeated-polls-17-years-ago-chuys-real-test-was-about-begin-111812 Garcia, Emanuel battle in heated first debate of runoff http://www.wbez.org/news/garcia-emanuel-battle-heated-first-debate-runoff-111708 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/rahmchuydebate.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><em>UPDATED: 1:32 PM 3/17/2015</em></p><p>Chicago&rsquo;s two mayoral hopefuls turned up the heat for their first one-on-one debate Monday night.</p><p>In the first of three live, televised events before the April 7 runoff election, Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Commissioner Jesus &ldquo;Chuy&rdquo; Garcia hit each other in the same spots as usual during the NBC and Telemundo debate: Emanuel criticized Garcia for not giving specifics, and Garcia called out Emanuel for paying too much attention to downtown, rather than the neighborhoods.</p><p>The two went back and forth on a number of topics that are familiar to the campaign trail, like public safety, schools, city finances and red light cameras. On finances, Emanuel said a property tax hike was not on the table, despite comments to the contrary from a top ally last week, as well as a warning from Emanuel himself last Friday that property tax bills would &ldquo;explode&rdquo; if Springfield didn&rsquo;t help reform pensions. Campaign staff later said that property taxes are the &ldquo;very last resort&rdquo; and any increase would &ldquo;protect middle-class homeowners and seniors.&rdquo; The city of Chicago faces a looming $550 million dollar state-mandated payment toward police and fire retirement funds.</p><p>&ldquo;Every effort going forward on police and fire is to avoid a property tax. I&rsquo;ve laid out a specific plan before the election. You&rsquo;ve laid out a commission,&rdquo; Emanuel said to Garcia.</p><p>The mayor says he&rsquo;d ask employees &ldquo;to help us a little&rdquo; to stabilize pensions, and that he&rsquo;d lobby Springfield for reforms to the sales tax and a Chicago-run casino that would be &ldquo;fully dedicated&rdquo; to pensions.</p><p>Meanwhile, Garcia sought to further define himself as the &ldquo;neighborhood guy,&rdquo; taking many opportunities to try and convince viewers not only that his experience in the community will drive his decisions, but that Emanuel focuses too much on the &ldquo;rich and wealthy&rdquo; or on downtown interests.</p><p>&ldquo;The mayor doesn&rsquo;t mind taxing low-income people and working people,&rdquo; Garcia said, referring to the city&rsquo;s red light camera program. &ldquo;That&rsquo;s why on day one I will get rid of all those cameras.&rdquo;</p><p>The two candidates also sought to blame the other for the city&rsquo;s financial crisis. Emanuel took a new swipe at his opponent where he maintained that Garcia, as a state senator, voted in 1997 to create a holiday for Chicago Public Schools teacher pension payments. Garcia continued to accuse Emanuel of not following through on his campaign promise to put the city&rsquo;s financial house in order.</p><p>On public safety, Emanuel contended the city was &ldquo;safer than it was before, but not safe enough where people from all parts of the city can enjoy it.&rdquo; Garcia repeated his push for more police officers, and said he&rsquo;d start hiring them with half of what the city spends now on police overtime.</p><p><em>Lauren Chooljian is a WBEZ political reporter. Follow her <a href="https://twitter.com/laurenchooljian">@laurenchooljian</a></em></p></p> Tue, 17 Mar 2015 08:01:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/garcia-emanuel-battle-heated-first-debate-runoff-111708 Morning Shift: Post-election special http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-02-25/morning-shift-post-election-special-111621 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Fuzzy%20Gerdes.jpg" style="height: 415px; width: 620px;" title="Flickr/Fuzzy Gerdes" /></div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/193008052&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><p>&nbsp;</p><div>&nbsp;</div><div><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><span style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: inherit; font-size: 24px; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: inherit; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: inherit; vertical-align: baseline;">Jobs, the economy and education</span></p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);">We talk about future plans for mayoral run-off contender Jesus &quot;Chuy&quot; Garcia and delve into current issues with the city&#39;s status on jobs, economic development and education. Joining us are Carrie Thomas of the Chicago Jobs Council and Linda Lenz, Founder and Publisher of Catalyst Chicago.&nbsp;</p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><em><strong style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-stretch: inherit; vertical-align: baseline;">Guests:&nbsp;</strong>Carrie Thomas is the Interim Executive Director of the<a href="https://twitter.com/chijobscouncil"> Chicago Jobs Council.</a> </em></p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><em>Linda Lenz is the Founder and Publisher of </em><a href="https://twitter.com/CatalystChicago">Catalyst Chicago.</a></p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/193008049&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe></p></div><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><span style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: inherit; font-size: 24px; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: inherit; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: inherit; vertical-align: baseline;">Aldermanic races</span></p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);">We examine the aldermanic candidates in 19 Chicago wards who are facing run-offs and more. Mick Dumke, Senior Writer, Chicago Reader weighs in.&nbsp;</p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><em><strong style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-stretch: inherit; vertical-align: baseline;">Guest:&nbsp;</strong></em><em><a href="https://twitter.com/mickeyd1971">Mick Dumke</a> is a Senior Writer with the Chicago Reader.</em></p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/193008045&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><span style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: inherit; font-size: 24px; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: inherit; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: inherit; vertical-align: baseline;">Robert &quot;Bob&quot; Fioretti and Willie Wilson</span></p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);">We hear post-election responses from mayoral candidates Robert &quot;Bob&quot; Fioretti and Willie Wilson.&nbsp;</p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><em><strong style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-stretch: inherit; vertical-align: baseline;">Guests:&nbsp;</strong></em><em>Mayoral candidate <a href="https://twitter.com/Fioretti2ndWard">Robert &quot;Bob&quot; Fioretti.</a></em></p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><em>Mayoral candidate <a href="https://twitter.com/ElectWillie">Willie Wilson</a>.</em></p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);">&nbsp;</p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/193008043&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><span style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: inherit; font-size: 24px; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: inherit; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: inherit; vertical-align: baseline;">City pensions</span></p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);">We take a closer look at the city&#39;s struggle to fund pensions and what it means for newly elected officials and the mayoral run-off in April. Civic Federation President Laurence Msall stops by for discussion.</p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><em><strong style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-stretch: inherit; vertical-align: baseline;">Guest:<a href="http://www.civicfed.org/civic-federation/staff/laurence-msall">&nbsp;</a></strong></em><em><a href="http://www.civicfed.org/civic-federation/staff/laurence-msall">Laurence Msall </a>is the President of the <a href="https://twitter.com/civicfederation">Civic Federation</a> in Chicago.</em></p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);">&nbsp;</p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/193008039&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><span style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: inherit; font-size: 24px; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: inherit; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: inherit; vertical-align: baseline;">Public safety and neighborhoods</span></p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);">We take a closer look at the issue of public safety and what came up for candidates during Tuesday&#39;s election. R.A.G.E. Englewood&#39;s Aysha Butler and Chicago Sun-Times Assistant City Editor Maudlyne Ihejrika join us.</p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><em><strong style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-stretch: inherit; vertical-align: baseline;">Guests:&nbsp;</strong><a href="https://twitter.com/mrs_englewood">Aysha Butler</a> is with R.A.G.E. Englewood. </em></p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><em><a href="https://twitter.com/maudlynei">Maudlyne Ihejrika</a> is the Urban Affairs reporter and Assistant City Editor at the </em>Chicago Sun-Times.</p></p> Wed, 25 Feb 2015 07:30:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-02-25/morning-shift-post-election-special-111621 Some Illinois lawmakers angry with U.S Sen. Kirk over immigration http://www.wbez.org/news/some-illinois-lawmakers-angry-us-sen-kirk-over-immigration-107685 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/immigration_130613_kk.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Local lawmakers are calling out Illinois U.S. Senator Mark Kirk for voting not to debate immigration reform at a federal level.</p><p>State representatives, senators, Chicago aldermen and community leaders met at Benito Juarez High School in Pilsen where Illinois lawmakers signed the Dream Act two years ago.</p><p>Cook County Commissioner Jesus Garcia said he is shocked and dismayed at how Kirk is representing Illinois when it comes to immigration.</p><p>&ldquo;This is about leadership. It&rsquo;s about the future of the country. It&rsquo;s about what is in Illinois&rsquo; best interest,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;Sen. Kirk is out of touch with what is going on in Illinois and in the country.&rdquo;</p><p>Kirk has said he wants to see a bipartisan strategy to strengthen border security before moving forward for immigration overhaul.</p><p>Ald. Rey Colon (35th) said his drive to Benito Juarez from the Humboldt Park neighborhood was evidence of Latinos&rsquo; positive effect on a community.</p><p>&ldquo;I couldn&rsquo;t help but notice the number of businesses that are immigrants - businesses that are fueling our economy,&rdquo; Colon said.</p><p>&ldquo;These are Sen. Kirk&rsquo;s constituents. The children in this school are Sen. Kirk&rsquo;s constituents, and all these people are crying out for reform,&rdquo; he said.</p><p>U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) says he wants a final vote on the bill by July 4.</p><p><em>Katie Kather is an arts &amp; culture reporting intern at WBEZ. Follow her <a href="http://twitter.com/ktkather" target="_blank">@ktkather</a>.&nbsp;</em></p></p> Thu, 13 Jun 2013 16:13:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/some-illinois-lawmakers-angry-us-sen-kirk-over-immigration-107685 ICE offer on ‘detainer’ costs draws mixed reaction http://www.wbez.org/story/ice-offer-%E2%80%98detainer%E2%80%99-costs-draws-mixed-reaction-96861 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2012-February/2012-02-29/By Bill Healy - July 27 2011 - 001-CROPPED.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><img alt="Commissioner Jesús García (D-Chicago)" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/insert-image/2012-February/2012-02-29/By Bill Healy - July 27 2011 - 001-CROPPED.jpg" style="margin: 9px 18px 6px 1px; float: left; width: 321px; height: 205px;" title="Commissioner Jesús García (D-Chicago) says accepting the offer would have a chilling effect on local policing. (WBEZ/Bill Healy)">Cook County officials are voicing mixed reactions to an extraordinary U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement offer to cover the costs of holding some inmates beyond what their criminal cases require.</p><p>County Board Commissioner Jesús García (D-Chicago) said keeping people locked up after they’ve posted bond, served their sentence or had their charges dismissed would violate constitutional protections against unreasonable search and seizure. Accepting ICE’s offer, he added, would have “a significant chilling effect” on local policing.</p><p>“The county would be seen as an extension of ICE, operating within local government,” García said. “The immigrant community and all of the different groups that are affected by this would just shut down and cease to cooperate with law enforcement and with government in general.”</p><p>The reimbursement offer came in a Feb. 13 letter from ICE Director John Morton to County Board President Toni Preckwinkle. The letter also proposed that the county restore ICE’s ability to interview detainees inside the jail, provide ICE access to “any county records necessary” to identify deportable inmates, schedule inmate releases for business hours and provide 24 hours’ notice to ICE.</p><p>In September, an ordinance backed by Preckwinkle effectively ended the county’s compliance with ICE requests known as “detainers.” Those requests kept specified inmates in jail up to two business days longer than required by their criminal case’s judge. The ordinance barred the sheriff from honoring ICE detainers unless the feds agreed to pay for the extended confinement. County officials say that confinement costs about $142 a day per inmate.</p><p>Morton blasted the ordinance in a January letter, claiming it undermines public safety and hinders ICE’s ability to enforce immigration laws.</p><p>His offer to Cook County signals a possible change in ICE policy. The agency last year said it did not reimburse local jails for the cost of honoring its detainers.</p><p>Asked whether the offer could set a precedent for other jails, the agency sent a written statement that said Cook County reimbursements would be “unlikely” if ICE were “once again permitted to work inside” the jail and if the county provided the 24-hour notice. “ICE officers would immediately take custody of detainees on the same day of their scheduled release,” the statement said.</p><p>County Board Commissioner Peter Silvestri (R-Elmwood Park), who voted against the ordinance, said Morton’s offer focuses the debate on public safety and constitutional questions. “If the argument against complying with ICE detainers was that it’s a financial burden on the county, that argument has been resolved,” Silvestri said.</p><p>Preckwinkle’s office said Wednesday she was studying Morton’s proposals and couldn’t respond to them yet.</p><p>Preckwinkle has defended the ordinance and pointed out that citizens, not just suspected immigration violators, can cause trouble after getting out of jail. In January, she ordered a six-month study aimed at improving the bond system so inmates who threaten public safety remain in jail.</p><p>Another county official predicted that complying with the detainers again would give inmates reason to sue for false imprisonment. “When they get compensated by a jury, are the feds going to come across and pay that bill too?” asked Patrick Reardon, first assistant Cook County public defender.</p><p>The county paid $72,000 to settle two 2008 lawsuits over detainers involving five inmates, according to Patrick Driscoll Jr., a deputy Cook County state’s attorney.</p><p>García and Reardon said allowing ICE officials to interview jail inmates would violate a 2007 County Board resolution aimed at removing the county from immigration enforcement.</p><p>Morton’s proposals include creating a “joint working group,” consisting of county and ICE employees, to resolve detainer issues and schedule implementation of his plan. Morton pointed out his plan would require amending or repealing the September ordinance.</p><p>“Morton has [offered] the olive branch and said that he would like to have a working group established so that they can discuss any remaining issues beyond the cost,” Commissioner Tim Schneider (R-Bartlett) said. “We need to find out what these last issues are in order for ICE to be able to do its job and function effectively in Cook County.”</p><p>Silvestri and Schneider have each proposed an amendment to scale back the ordinance so it allows detainer compliance for inmates deemed most dangerous. The amendments were the subject of a heated County Board hearing Feb. 9.</p><p>At the hearing, Sheriff Tom Dart said the jail had released 346 inmates named on ICE detainers since the ordinance passed. He said 11 of those individuals ended up arrested again. The charges varied.</p><p>Dart also voiced support for Schneider’s proposal, which would require compliance with detainers for inmates who appeared on a federal terrorist list or who faced any of several serious felony charges.</p><p>Dart’s office Wednesday did not answer whether it supported Morton’s proposals but said it favors “anything that helps bring sanity to the current situation.”</p></p> Thu, 01 Mar 2012 11:52:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/ice-offer-%E2%80%98detainer%E2%80%99-costs-draws-mixed-reaction-96861 Commissioners take aim at immigration ordinance http://www.wbez.org/story/commissioners-take-aim-county-immigration-law-95607 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2012-January/2012-01-18/Schneider.JPG" alt="" /><p><p><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/insert-image/2012-January/2012-01-18/Schneider.JPG" style="margin: 9px 18px 5px 1px; float: left; width: 264px; height: 276px;" title="Timothy Schneider, R-Bartlett, authored one of the proposals. (WBEZ/Chip Mitchell)">A debate about a Cook County ordinance that frees some inmates wanted by immigration authorities could get hotter. At its meeting Wednesday, the County Board agreed to consider two proposed amendments that would scale back the ordinance. Commissioners with opposing views of the measure also vowed to press the county’s top law-enforcement officials to testify about it at an unscheduled hearing.</p><p>The ordinance effectively bars compliance with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement detainers, which are requests that the county’s jail hold specified inmates up to two business days after they post bond or complete their criminal cases.</p><p>One of the proposed amendments, introduced Wednesday by Timothy Schneider (R-Bartlett), seems to require compliance with the detainers for inmates listed on the federal Terrorist Identities Datamart Environment and for inmates charged with — though not necessarily convicted of — various felonies. Those felonies include certain drug offenses, crimes resulting in great bodily harm, and “forcible felonies,” which Illinois defines as involving the use or threat of physical force or violence against an individual.</p><p>“I know that my amendment will not pass,” Schneider told commissioners during their meeting. “But maybe with some input from some of the stakeholders, something will come out of this and we will pass a common-sense measure that creates greater justice for victims of crimes and also to improve public safety for the residents of Cook County.”</p><p>The other proposed amendment, filed by Peter Silvestri (R-Elmwood Park) and John Daley (D-Chicago), would give the sheriff leeway to honor the detainers.</p><p>“The sheriff should have greater discretion on holding people that pose a threat to society,” Silvestri said before the meeting. “The sheriff, as the chief law enforcement officer of the county, should develop a procedure for determining which individuals to keep and which to release.”</p><p>That idea is not going over well with the ordinance’s author, Jesús García (D-Chicago). “It would bring back a flawed program that has not succeeded in apprehending dangerous criminals, and has instead resulted in the detention and sometimes deportation of people with minor infractions, victims of crime, and even U.S. citizens,” a statement from García’s office said. “It would give the sheriff unbridled discretion to comply with ICE detainers.”</p><p>Commissioners voted Wednesday afternoon to send both proposals to the board’s Legislation and Intergovernmental Relations Committee, chaired by Larry Suffredin (D-Evanston), who supports the ordinance.</p><p>Sheriff Tom Dart’s office did not return a call about the proposals, but he has quietly urged commissioners to require compliance with ICE detainers for inmates who meet any of several criteria. Dart listed some of the criteria in a December letter to Silvestri: “[It] is my hope that you agree that those charged with a ‘forcible felony,’ those who have a history of convictions and those on a Homeland Security Terrorist Watch List should be held on an ICE detainer rather than released immediately.”</p><p>State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez’s office did not return a call about the proposals.</p><p>The ordinance, approved in a 10-5 vote last September, has received increasing public attention in recent weeks as news outlets have focused on a convicted felon who was charged and jailed in a fatal Logan Square hit-and-run incident last year and named on an ICE detainer. After the ordinance passed, officials say, the inmate posted bond, walked free and went missing.</p><p>A letter this month from ICE Director John Morton to County Board President Toni Preckwinkle cites that case. “This ordinance undermines public safety in Cook County and hinders ICE’s ability to enforce the nation’s immigration laws,” the letter says.</p><p>Last week Preckwinkle said the hit-and-run suspect’s release “outraged” her, but she has stuck behind the ordinance. Instead of reconsidering it, she proposed a study of the county’s bail bond system for all criminal cases — no matter whether the inmate’s name appears on an ICE detainer. On Wednesday, the board approved the proposal, under which the county’s Judicial Advisory Council will undertake the study. That five-member panel, chaired by Illinois Supreme Court Justice Anne Burke, would recommend ways to improve pretrial services so judges can make better-informed decisions on bond amounts, according to the proposal.</p><p>ICE took custody of 1,665 Cook County inmates in 2010 and 721 in 2011, according to Dart’s office. Morton’s letter says ICE has lodged detainers against another 268 county inmates since the ordinance’s approval but the sheriff’s office has disregarded them.</p><p>The ordinance prohibits the jail from honoring the detainers unless the federal government agrees in advance to pay for the extended confinement — something ICE says it doesn’t do. García and others who back the ordinance say the detainers violated inmates’ due-process rights and eroded community trust in local police. A federal court ruling in Indiana last summer called compliance with the detainers “voluntary.”</p><p>The ordinance has reverberated beyond Cook County. In October, California’s Santa Clara County adopted a similar measure.</p></p> Wed, 18 Jan 2012 13:38:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/commissioners-take-aim-county-immigration-law-95607 County starts freeing inmates wanted by ICE http://www.wbez.org/story/county-starts-freeing-inmates-wanted-ice-91808 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-September/2011-09-09/Cook county jail Ted S. Warren-scr.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>A new Cook County ordinance that touches the hot-button issue of immigration is allowing inmates out of the county’s jail and making waves in other parts of the country.</p><p>The ordinance, approved Wednesday by the County Board, halts compliance with Immigration and Customs Enforcement requests that certain inmates stay in jail up to two business days beyond what their criminal cases require. The requests, known as detainers, give ICE time to pick up the inmates for possible deportation.</p><p>Sheriff Tom Dart’s office says by Friday afternoon the jail had freed 11 jail inmates named in ICE detainers.</p><p>ICE took custody of 721 Cook County inmates on detainers this year and 1,665 last year, according to Dart’s office. “I guess that’s it,” spokesman Steve Patterson says.</p><p>The ordinance requires the jail to free such inmates unless the federal government agrees in advance to pay for the extended confinement. ICE says the feds don’t reimburse any local jurisdiction in the country for those costs.</p><p>“It’s like a godsend,” says Carlos Torres, 29, of North Lawndale.</p><div class="inset"><p><span style="color: rgb(165, 42, 42);"><span style="font-size: 24px;"><em><span style="font-family: georgia,serif;">‘You have many localities and state legislatures trying to do immigration policy. We’re not best equipped to do this.</span></em></span></span><span style="color: rgb(165, 42, 42);"><span style="font-size: 24px;"><em><span style="font-family: georgia,serif;">’</span></em></span></span></p></div><p>Torres says Chicago police last month arrested his father after finding narcotics in a car in which he was a passenger. Torres says his father, a Mexico native, has an expired green card and that his U.S. record includes a burglary conviction. “So that would make him more likely to get deported,” Torres says.</p><p>ICE found out Torres’s father was in the jail and put a detainer on him. But the ordinance gives the inmate a better chance of walking free after a court appearance Tuesday. “I’m relieved,” Torres says.</p><p>Jesús García, D-Chicago, and other commissioners who backed the measure say detainers violate inmates’ due-process rights and erode community trust in local cops.</p><p>“You have many localities and state legislatures trying to do immigration policy,” García says. “We’re not best equipped to do this.”</p><p>García says local governments are stuck with the job until Congress overhauls the nation’s immigration laws.</p><p>Those localities have some cover from a federal court ruling in Indiana this summer. The ruling says compliance with ICE detainers is voluntary.</p><p>Still, a few Cook County commissioners have qualms about ignoring them. “Under this ordinance, gang bangers and people involved in drug dealing, sex trafficking and criminal sexual assault will be released back into our communities,” Timothy Schneider, R-Bartlett, said during Wednesday’s County Board meeting. “This is clearly our Willie Horton moment.”</p><p>A Massachusetts prison released Horton, a convicted felon, as part of a weekend furlough program in 1986. He did not return and committed violent crimes that came back to haunt Gov. Michael Dukakis in the 1988 presidential campaign.</p><p>ICE sounds a similar alarm. “ICE has not sought to compel compliance through legal proceedings [but] jurisdictions that ignore detainers bear the risk of possible public safety risks,” the agency said in a statement about the Cook County vote.</p><p>Asked whether ICE will take the county to court to compel compliance, the agency did not answer.</p><p>The ordinance, meanwhile, is reverberating beyond the county. “For a long time we felt like we were in this alone,” says Juniper Downs, lead deputy counsel for Santa Clara County, California. “Cook County’s bold policy may affect the direction of the policy we develop.”</p><p>At least three other counties — Taos and San Miguel, both in New Mexico, and San Francisco in California — have limited the sorts of inmates they’re holding on ICE detainers. None has gone as far as Cook County, which is ignoring the detainers altogether.</p></p> Fri, 09 Sep 2011 23:28:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/county-starts-freeing-inmates-wanted-ice-91808 Cook County Board could vote on freeing inmates wanted by immigration authorities http://www.wbez.org/story/cook-county-commissioners-could-vote-next-week-releasing-some-jailed-immigrants-91496 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-September/2011-09-03/Toni Preckwinkle.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Cook County commissioners on Wednesday could take center stage in the nation’s immigration debate if they enact a proposal that would begin freeing some jail inmates wanted by federal authorities.</p><p>The measure requires the sheriff to decline Immigration and Customs Enforcement requests known as detainers “unless there is a written agreement with the federal government by which all costs incurred” by the county are reimbursed.</p><p>County Board Commissioner Jesús García, D-Chicago, introduced a similar proposal in July but quickly withdrew it, saying it needed rethinking. García has refined the measure and picked up nine other sponsors, including Board President Toni Preckwinkle.</p><p>The inmates remain in the county’s massive jail up to 48 hours beyond what their criminal cases require. ICE detainers enabled the federal agency to take custody of 1,665 of the jail’s inmates in 2010, according to Sheriff Tom Dart.</p><p>Dart’s office says complying with the detainers last year cost roughly $250,000.</p><p>An ICE statement calls the detainers “critical” for deporting “criminal aliens and others who have no legal right to remain in the United States.”</p><p>But García says the holds enable ICE to sweep up too many immigrants who pose little or no risk to public safety. “These people have been cleared of charges or have posted bond,” he says.</p><p>García says the detainers also cost taxpayers too much and spread fear of local police — claims disputed by pro-enforcement groups such as the Federation for American Immigration Reform.</p><p>ICE didn’t immediately comment on the revamped proposal but sent a statement warning that “jurisdictions that ignore detainers bear the risk of possible public safety risks.”</p><p>The federal government does not reimburse any local jurisdiction in the country for costs associated with the immigration detainers, according to ICE spokeswoman Gail Montenegro.</p><p>Commissioners could approve the proposal at their meeting Wednesday morning. It would take effect “immediately upon adoption,” the measure says.</p><p>“As far as I know, Cook County would be the first local jurisdiction in the country to quit complying with ICE detainer requests,” says Chris Newman, legal director of the Los Angeles-based National Day Laborer Organizing Network, a group that leads opposition to the holds.</p><p>The proposal comes as a class-action suit in federal court challenges use of the detainers. Filed by the Chicago-based National Immigrant Justice Center, the suit charges that asking local police to detain immigrants when there is no evidence of illegal activity is unconstitutional.<br> &nbsp;</p><p><em>Correction: An earlier version of this story misstated what Sheriff Tom Dart’s office estimates that its ICE detainer compliance costs the county. A sheriff’s spokesman says the cost last year was roughly $250,000.</em></p></p> Fri, 02 Sep 2011 23:02:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/cook-county-commissioners-could-vote-next-week-releasing-some-jailed-immigrants-91496 County commissioner pulls bill to free inmates wanted by ICE http://www.wbez.org/story/county-commissioner-pulls-bill-free-inmates-wanted-ice-89730 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-July/2011-07-27/Garcia.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>Legislation that would have required Cook County to free some jail inmates wanted by immigration authorities is dead for now.<br> <br> Commissioner Jesús García, D-Chicago, withdrew his bill at Wednesday’s County Board meeting. “We want to rethink it,” he said afterwards.<br> <br> The measure would have made the county the nation’s largest jurisdiction to end blanket compliance with Immigration and Customs Enforcement detainers. Those are requests by the federal agency for local jails to keep some inmates 48 hours beyond what their criminal cases require.<br> <br> García’s bill would have ended the county’s compliance unless the inmate had been convicted of a felony or two misdemeanors and unless the county got reimbursed.<br> <br> Board President Toni Preckwinkle said she would back releasing some inmates wanted by ICE but wants to hear from State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez. “We hope to have a written opinion from the state’s attorney that will allow us to proceed,” she said after the board meeting.<br> <br> A letter from Alvarez to Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart’s office back in 2009 said the jail “must comply with any ICE detainers.”<br> <br> But ICE officials in recent months have said there is no legal requirement for jails to comply. Dart told WBEZ this month he planned to ask Alvarez for an updated opinion.<br> <br> Alvarez’s office hasn’t answered WBEZ’s questions about whether she will revisit that opinion.</p></p> Wed, 27 Jul 2011 21:10:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/county-commissioner-pulls-bill-free-inmates-wanted-ice-89730 Bill would free Cook County inmates wanted by ICE http://www.wbez.org/story/bill-would-free-cook-county-inmates-wanted-ice-89634 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-July/2011-07-26/cook-County-Jail-2_Flickr_Zol87.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>A Cook County commissioner is quietly proposing an ordinance that would require the county’s massive jail to release some inmates wanted by immigration authorities.</p><p>Sponsored by Jesús García, D-Chicago, the measure would prohibit the jail from holding inmates based on an Immigration and Customs Enforcement request unless they have been convicted of a felony or two misdemeanors, and unless the county gets reimbursed.</p><p>The legislation’s preamble says complying with the ICE requests, known as detainers, “places a great strain on our communities by eroding the public trust that local law enforcement depends on to secure the accurate reporting of criminal activity and to prevent and solve crimes.”</p><p>The jail now holds detainees requested by ICE for up to 48 hours after their criminal cases would allow them to walk free. Sheriff Tom Dart’s office says the jail turns over about a half dozen inmates to the federal agency each business day.</p><p>Dart this month <a href="http://www.wbez.org/story/sheriff-mulls-freeing-inmates-wanted-immigration-charges-89233">told WBEZ his staff was exploring legal options</a> for releasing some of these inmates. The sheriff said his review began after he noticed that San Francisco County Sheriff Michael Hennessey had ordered his department to quit honoring certain ICE detainers beginning June 1.</p><p>If Dart’s office follows Hennessey’s path or if García’s legislation wins approval, Cook County could become the nation’s largest local jurisdiction to halt blanket compliance with ICE holds.</p><p>“Cook County would be a counter pole to Arizona’s Maricopa County,” says Chris Newman, general counsel of the National Day Laborer Organizing Network, a Los Angeles-based group that opposes involving local authorities in immigration enforcement.</p><p>García’s office didn’t return WBEZ calls or messages about his legislation. The offices of Sheriff Dart and Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle said they had seen the bill but declined to say whether they supported it.</p><p>A spokeswoman for Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez said late Tuesday her office had not been consulted about García’s proposal. A 2009 letter from Alvarez to Dart’s office said federal law required the sheriff to comply with “any ICE detainers.”</p><p>In recent months, however, immigration authorities have acknowledged that local jails do not have to comply with the detainers.</p><p>ICE spokeswoman Leticia Zamarripa, asked for comment about García’s legislation, sent a statement calling the detainers “critical” for deporting “criminal aliens and others who have no legal right to remain in the United States.”</p><p>“Individuals arrested for misdemeanors may ultimately be identified as recidivist offenders with multiple prior arrests, in addition to being in violation of U.S. immigration law,” the ICE statement said. “These individuals may have been deported before or have outstanding orders of removal.” Jurisdictions that ignore immigration detainers would be responsible for “possible public safety risks,” the statement added.</p><p>García’s proposal is on the county board’s agenda for Wednesday morning. Possible steps by commissioners include referring the measure to committee or approving it immediately.</p></p> Tue, 26 Jul 2011 10:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/bill-would-free-cook-county-inmates-wanted-ice-89634