WBEZ | Timothy Schneider http://www.wbez.org/tags/timothy-schneider Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en ICE detainers a public-safety issue? http://www.wbez.org/news/ice-detainers-public-safety-issue-99190 <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/Napolitano.jpg" style="margin: 4px 0px 0px; float: left; width: 280px; height: 303px;" title="In April 25 testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee, U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano calls a Cook County policy of disregarding the detainers ‘terribly misguided.’ (AP/Susan Walsh)" /></div><p><em>More than eight months since it passed, an ordinance that ended Cook County Jail compliance with immigration detainers keeps causing sparks. The detainers </em>&mdash; <em>requests that the jail hold inmates up to two business days beyond what their criminal cases require </em>&mdash; <em>help federal officials put the inmates into deportation proceedings. Sheriff Tom Dart and some county commissioners are pressing for the ordinance to be scaled back. So is President Barack Obama&rsquo;s administration. They all say their motive is to keep dangerous criminals locked up. Yet officials offer no evidence whether inmates freed by the ordinance endanger the public more than other former inmates do. A WBEZ investigation sheds the first light.</em></p><p>The ordinance cut ties between the jail and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the agency known as ICE. It passed last September. County Commissioner Tim Schneider offered a prediction.</p><p>SCHNEIDER: Under this ordinance, gang bangers, people involved in drug dealing, sex trafficking and criminal sexual assault will be released back into our communities that with these ICE detainers would be held and would be deported. This is clearly our Willie Horton moment here in Cook County.</p><p>Horton was a Massachusetts felon let out of prison on a weekend furlough in 1986. He did not come back and committed violent crimes that haunted Governor Michael Dukakis in his presidential campaign. Cook County may not have anyone like Horton on its hands. But within four months of the ordinance&rsquo;s approval, news outlets had seized on someone else.</p><p>TV REPORTER: . . . when it was revealed that this man, Saúl Chávez, an alleged hit-and-run driver, had bonded out . . .</p><p>Saúl Chávez &mdash; that&rsquo;s the pronunciation &mdash; was an undocumented immigrant from Mexico. ICE slapped a detainer on him but the ordinance required the jail to disregard it. When he posted bond, the jail let him out. Then Chávez missed his court dates and disappeared.</p><p>DART: . . . Thank you very much, Commissioner. Thank you for having me here. . . .</p><p>At a February hearing, Sheriff Tom Dart told county commissioners about other inmates he&rsquo;d freed.</p><p>DART: Since September 7, the jail has released 346 individuals &mdash; who had detainers on them &mdash; that prior to September 7 would have been detained on the hold.</p><p>Dart said 11 of those 346 had committed new offenses. ICE, meanwhile, pointed to the Chávez case and, like Dart, claimed the ordinance undermined public safety in the county. Last month U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano testified at a Senate hearing.</p><p>NAPOLITANO: Cook County&rsquo;s ordinance is terribly misguided and is a public-safety issue. We&rsquo;re evaluating a lot of options . . .</p><p>All this talk about public safety had me scratching my head. Just how dangerous are these people? Are they more dangerous than former jail inmates that ICE has not named on detainers? I looked for studies comparing the two groups. I checked with policy experts and criminologists . . . the sheriff&rsquo;s office, the Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority, ICE, the U.S. Department of Justice . . .</p><p>BECK: I&rsquo;m not aware that any research has been conducted on this.</p><p>This is Allen Beck. He&rsquo;s a top DOJ statistician. I show him the figures Sheriff Dart brought to that hearing. Some simple math shows that about 3 percent of the inmates the jail freed in disregard of immigration detainers had committed new offenses.<a href="#1"><sup>[1]</sup></a></p><p>BECK: That&rsquo;s correct.</p><p>The sheriff&rsquo;s office told me it couldn&rsquo;t come up with the rearrest rate for all the other inmates the jail released during those five months.<sup><a href="#2">[2]</a></sup> The office did provide numbers for Cook County defendants on electronic monitoring.<sup><a href="#3">[3]</a></sup> And I checked into a Loyola University study about felons discharged from Illinois probation.<a href="#4"><sup>[4]</sup></a> The rearrest rate for both groups is about the same as for the detainer group.</p><p>BECK: Right.</p><p>Beck tells me about something else.</p><p>BECK: You know, we have tracked felony defendants in large state courts for some time. We have statistics related to Cook County. We certainly have been able to determine a substantial failure rate.</p><p>Beck shows me what he means by failure. In the DOJ&rsquo;s most recent look at Cook County felony defendants, about 25 percent of those who got out of jail with charges pending committed new crimes before their case was over.<sup><a href="#5">[5]</a></sup></p><p>MITCHELL: Mr. Beck, given the evidence available, what can we say about the former inmates wanted by ICE?</p><p>BECK: Well, there clearly isn&rsquo;t any data here to suggest that this group had a higher rate of failure &mdash; that is, of a re-arrest &mdash; than other groups that the Cook County sheriff may be dealing with. In fact, I think the evidence would suggest that these rates are lower.</p><p>But here&rsquo;s another question about Cook County&rsquo;s policy of disregarding immigration detainers: Are the inmates who bond out more likely to skip their court dates and go missing, like Saúl Chávez did? In the county&rsquo;s court records, you can see a defendant has failed to appear when the judge revokes bail and orders arrest. The arrest order&rsquo;s known as a bond-forfeiture warrant.</p><p>MITCHELL: So, Mr. Beck, of the inmates our jail released despite immigration detainers, we pulled court records on all but one of those who were charged with a felony and who got out by posting bond.<a href="#6"><sup>[6]</sup></a></p><p>BECK: . . . couldn&rsquo;t find one.</p><p>MITCHELL: Right.</p><p>BECK: Right.</p><p>MITCHELL: And of those, about 12 percent were named on bond-forfeiture warrants during the five months.</p><p>BECK: About 12 percent.</p><p>For perspective, I rounded up some WBEZ volunteers to help check this figure against other felony defendants freed on bond over the five months. We came up with a representative sample.<a href="#7"><sup>[7]</sup></a> Judges ordered bond-forfeiture warrants for about 14 percent of our sample during the period. Then I got some figures from the sheriff and the court clerk.<a href="#8"><sup>[8]</sup></a> They show roughly how many bond-forfeiture warrants named any felony defendant who got out on bail during those five months.</p><p>BECK: So basically what you&rsquo;re saying is that about 15 percent &mdash; what is that, one in six?</p><p>MITCHELL: Yeah, very close to the rate of the inmates released in disregard of ICE detainers. Mr. Beck, your study &mdash; the one by&nbsp;the U.S. Department of Justice&nbsp;&mdash;&nbsp;also includes figures for how many Cook County felony defendants failed to appear in court.<a href="#9"><sup>[9]</sup></a></p><p>BECK: We found 21 percent.</p><p>MITCHELL: Now, Mr. Beck, whether we&rsquo;re looking at the rearrests or the bail jumping, all our comparisons include some apples-to-oranges issues.</p><p>BECK: That&rsquo;s right but we&rsquo;re looking at numbers that certainly do not lead to a conclusion that this group released in disregard to the ICE detainers would pose a greater risk upon their release than others.</p><p>If that&rsquo;s the case, I wondered what all those officials meant when they said the Cook County ordinance undermines public safety. Sheriff Dart&rsquo;s office and the Department of Homeland Security haven&rsquo;t granted my requests to speak with them about this. An ICE spokeswoman says her agency won&rsquo;t talk about this on tape and says ICE never claimed that the former jail inmates it named on detainers were committing more crimes or jumping bail more than other former jail inmates. The lack of evidence did not stop the officials from pressing for the ordinance to be scaled back. Tim Schneider &mdash; he&rsquo;s the County Board commissioner who invoked Willie Horton &mdash; he proposed an amendment that would require compliance with the ICE detainers for inmates who appear on a federal terrorist list or face a serious felony charge. I ask Schneider whether his push has anything to do with age-old fears about immigrants threatening public safety.</p><p>MITCHELL: When you talk about Willie Horton in the context of the September ordinance and when you talk about Saúl Chávez &mdash; our research suggested he&rsquo;s not typical &mdash; are you stoking those fears?</p><p>SCHNEIDER: Absolutely not.</p><p>He goes on.</p><p>SCHNEIDER: If these people could be held pursuant to ICE detainers, then that&rsquo;s one less person that would flee justice. In the case of Saúl Chávez, he is out loose because we&rsquo;re not complying with ICE detainers.</p><p>YOUNG: No one wants to be seen as endangering public safety.</p><p>Attorney Malcolm Young directs an inmate-reentry program at Northwestern University.</p><p>YOUNG: The claim of public safety is a good one to make any time you want to advance one or another criminal-justice policy. Here I think it&rsquo;s incumbent on someone who&rsquo;s making that argument to show why it is that the release of someone who is the subject of an ICE detainer puts the community at risk or creates a risk that that person is not going to show up in court.</p><p>Otherwise, Young says, the Cook County Jail may as well keep all inmates beyond what their criminal cases require &mdash; not just those wanted by immigration authorities.<br />&nbsp;</p><p><strong><span style="font-size:18px;">Notes</span></strong></p><p><a name="1">1. </a>Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart told county commissioners at a February 9 hearing that his office had freed 346 inmates in disregard of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement detainers since September 7, when the County Board enacted &ldquo;Policy for responding to ICE detainers&rdquo; (Ordinance 11-O-73). Of the 346, according to Dart, 11 committed new offenses during the five months. That means 3.2 percent had reoffended. The flow of the releases over the five months was steady, so the individuals averaged about 75 days (half of the five months) in which they could have been arrested on new charges. That makes the per-day rearrest rate roughly 0.04 percent.</p><p><a name="2">2. </a>The sheriff&rsquo;s office says the jail released 30,549 inmates between September 7 and February 6. But the office says it could not quickly find out how many had committed new offenses during that period because that tally would require investigating the cases one-by-one.</p><p><a name="3">3. </a>The sheriff&rsquo;s office says Cook County Circuit Court judges ordered 2,700 individuals into the sheriff&rsquo;s electronic-monitoring program between September 7 and February 6. Of those, according to the sheriff&rsquo;s office, 53 were arrested for a new crime while in the program during that period. That means about 2.0 percent had committed a new crime &mdash; close to the 3.2 percent for the inmates released in disregard of ICE detainers. Among shortcomings with this comparison is that the electronic-monitoring group did not include individuals released from jail after a not-guilty ruling, individuals who had served their sentences, individuals for whom all charges were dismissed and so on.</p><p><a name="4">4. </a>Loyola University Chicago <a href="http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/Publications/abstract.aspx?ID=248832">researchers studied 1,578 felons</a> discharged in November 2000 from Illinois probation. Within two months of their discharge, 3 percent had been rearrested for a new crime, according David Olson, an author of the study. That&rsquo;s about 0.05 percent per day &mdash; close to the 0.04 percent rate for the inmates released in disregard of ICE detainers. Shortcomings with this comparison include penal and policing changes since the probation discharges, the presence of 740 non-Cook County individuals in the probation group, and that group&rsquo;s lack of misdemeanants, pretrial defendants, individuals whose charges were dropped, individuals found not guilty, individuals who completed sentences other than probation and so on.</p><p><a name="5">5. </a>The most recent U.S. Department of Justice <a href="http://bjs.ojp.usdoj.gov/content/pub/pdf/fdluc06.pdf">study that covers rearrests</a> of former Cook County Jail inmates looks at 716 defendants who were charged in May 2006 with a felony and freed from the jail before trial. About 25 percent were rearrested again in Illinois on a new charge before their case&rsquo;s disposition. Assuming the median time between their first arrest and their adjudication was 92 days, the per-day rearrest rate was roughly 0.27 percent &mdash; much higher than the 0.04 percent rate for the inmates released in disregard of ICE detainers. A shortcoming with this comparison is the DOJ study&rsquo;s lack of misdemeanants and of individuals released because their sentence was served or their charges were dropped. Another shortcoming is that the median time, 92 days, refers to all counties in the DOJ study. The figure for Cook County alone was not available.</p><p><a name="6">6. </a>The sheriff&rsquo;s office provided a listing of individuals the jail released between September 7 and February 6 in disregard of ICE detainers. WBEZ focused on flight risk by examining a subset &mdash; the 133 felony defendants who got out of jail by posting bond. Court records on one of those defendants could not be found, reducing the number to 132. Judges named 16 of the 132, or 12.1 percent, on bond-forfeiture warrants (BFWs) during that five-month period, according to a WBEZ review of the records. The flow of the releases over the period was steady, so the individuals averaged about 75 days (half of the five months) in which they could have been named on a BFW. That makes the per-day rate roughly 0.16 percent. But there&rsquo;s a caveat: It&rsquo;s possible that some of the 16 defendants who failed to appear in court were missing because ICE had detained or deported them. A January 4 letter from ICE Director John Morton says his agency had arrested 15 individuals that the jail had released since September 7 in disregard of ICE detainers. We asked ICE to identify the 15 but the agency pointed to a privacy policy and declined. We also asked ICE whether it notifies the Cook County Circuit Court after taking into custody someone with a pending criminal case in that court, whose judges order the BFWs. ICE didn&rsquo;t answer that question but said it informs local law-enforcement agencies and the Cook County State&rsquo;s Attorney&rsquo;s Office.</p><p><a name="7">7. </a>WBEZ generated a 133-member sample of felony defendants freed on bond between September 7 and February 6. Of those, 18, or 13.5 percent, were named on a BFW during that period, according to a WBEZ review of their court records. That rate is close to the 12.1 percent for inmates released in disregard of ICE detainers. A shortcoming of this comparison concerns the degree to which the sample is representative. Randomness was impossible due to limits on public access to records kept by the sheriff and the Clerk of the Circuit Court and due to a lack of data integration between the two offices. An example of the shortcoming is that WBEZ had to identify the felony cases by finding clerk-assigned case numbers with digits showing the case&rsquo;s transfer to the court system&rsquo;s criminal division, which handles felonies only. But some felony cases never reach that division and, thus, are never assigned a case number with those digits.</p><p><a name="8">8. </a>Figures from the sheriff&rsquo;s office suggest that roughly 8,000 felony defendants got out of jail between September 7 and February 6 by posting bond. Figures from the clerk&rsquo;s office suggest that judges ordered 1,247 BFWs in felony cases during that period. The BFWs cover roughly 15.6 percent of the defendants, assuming just one BFW per defendant. The rate is higher than the 12.1 percent for inmates released in disregard of ICE detainers. A shortcoming with this comparison is that the &ldquo;roughly 8,000&rdquo; figure refers to a 7,785-9,089 range provided by the sheriff&rsquo;s office, which says it can&rsquo;t quickly determine the felony/misdemeanor status of 1,304 cases. Another shortcoming is that the clerk&rsquo;s office does not track when defendants were released from jail. The 1,247 figure, therefore, pertains to the five-month period but not the 8,000 defendants per se.</p><p><a name="9">9. </a>In the DOJ study, judges named 21 percent of the defendants on a warrant for failure to appear in court. Given the median 92 days from arrest to adjudication, 0.23 percent per day got such a warrant. That rate is higher than the 0.16 percent for inmates released in disregard of ICE detainers. A shortcoming with this comparison is that the detainer group includes just those who posted bond. The DOJ group includes additional pretrial-defendant types, such as those released on personal recognizance. Another shortcoming is that the median time, 92 days, refers to all counties in the DOJ study. The figure for Cook County alone was not available.</p><p><em>Research assistance from Brian Mitchell, Christopher Newman, Joan Rothenberg and Sauming Seto. Editing by Shawn Allee.</em></p></p> Wed, 16 May 2012 11:12:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/ice-detainers-public-safety-issue-99190 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 Reviewing Preckwinkle's first year in office http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-12-07/reviewing-preckwinkles-first-year-office-94671 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/segment/photo/2011-December/2011-12-07/preckwinkle at board_3.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>When Toni Preckwinkle took over as <a href="http://www.cookcountygov.com/portal/server.pt/gateway/PTARGS_0_0_336_226_0_43/http%3B/www.cookcountygov.com/ccWeb.Leadership/LeadershipProfile.aspx?commiss_id=406" target="_blank">Cook County Board President</a> last December, she vowed to do things differently than her predecessor Todd Stroger. Preckwinkle initiated the reversal of Stroger’s penny-on-the-dollar sales tax increase and she also promised to lead the county on a "new course." The passage of Preckwinkle’s 2012 county budget suggested county commissioners thought she was on the right path; but there have been criticisms. <a href="http://www.suffredin.org/" target="_blank">Commissioner Larry Suffredin</a> expressed skepticism over the way Preckwinkle dealt with labor unions and <a href="http://www.timothyoschneider.com/" target="_blank">Commissioner Timothy Schneider</a> had concerns about some points in the budget as they related to unincorporated Cook County. Still, many were pleased with Preckwinkle’s leadership over the past year. To get a behind the scenes view of how things have been going, <em>Eight Forty-Eight</em> was joined by President Preckwinkle and Commissioner Schneider.</p><p><em>Music Button: Victor Wooten, "2 Timers", from the album Palmystery, (Heads Up)</em></p></p> Wed, 07 Dec 2011 15:11:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-12-07/reviewing-preckwinkles-first-year-office-94671 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 Proposal to free inmates wanted by ICE gets flak http://www.wbez.org/story/proposal-free-inmates-wanted-ice-gets-flak-91585 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-September/2011-09-06/Timothy Schneider.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>A proposal for the Cook County Jail to free some inmates wanted by immigration authorities could be up for a vote at the county board meeting Wednesday morning. But it’s hitting turbulence.</p><p>Board Commissioner Timothy Schneider, R-Streamwood, plans to speak against the measure at the meeting. “Are we going to disregard the rule of law?” he said Tuesday afternoon. “If they’re illegal they should be deported.”</p><p>On an average day, the county turns over three inmates wanted by Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Those transfers follow ICE requests, known as detainers, that ask the jail to hold the inmates up to two business days beyond what their criminal cases require.</p><p>Under the proposed ordinance, the county would start freeing the inmates unless the federal government paid for the hold. County Board President Toni Preckwinkle and nine commissioners are sponsoring the measure.</p><p>Preckwinkle said Tuesday that asking local jails to hold inmates for suspected immigration violations amounts to an unfunded federal mandate. “It costs us $142.80 a day to keep somebody in the jail,” she said. “It adds up over time.”</p><p>Sheriff Tom Dart has criticized the holds but his spokesman, Steve Patterson, said Tuesday afternoon the proposed ordinance deserves more debate: “We’d just like more dialogue with all parties in the room.”</p><p>Patterson said those parties include federal authorities, local law-enforcement officials and immigrant families and their advocates.</p><p><em>Lauren Chooljian‎ contributed to this report.</em></p></p> Wed, 07 Sep 2011 10:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/proposal-free-inmates-wanted-ice-gets-flak-91585