WBEZ | Illegal immigration http://www.wbez.org/tags/illegal-immigration Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Indiana city may be next site for illegal immigrant detention center http://www.wbez.org/indiana-city-may-be-next-site-illegal-immigrant-detention-center-109212 <p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Detention%20Center%20%20%281%29.jpg" style="float: left; height: 367px; width: 300px;" title="Hobart, Indiana Mayor Brian Snedecor says no formal proposals have been put forth to build an illegal immigration detention facility in his city. (WBEZ/Michael Puente)" />With the passage of anti-illegal immigration laws in recent years, Indiana might be considered prime real estate for the federal government to house a detention center to process and detain illegal immigrants. That could be why federal officials are eyeing the Northwest Indiana city of Hobart, which has some residents concerned.</p><p><a href="http://www.geogroup.com/">GEO Group, Inc.</a>, a&nbsp;private company that runs prison facilities, recently purchased land in Hobart, leading to speculation that the firm&nbsp;could be planning a detention center there.</p><p>As a result, more than three dozen residents packed a Hobart City Council meeting in protest Wednesday night.</p><p>&ldquo;That property specifically already has an oak forest growing on it,&quot; said resident David Woronecki-Ellis. &quot;So, I would hate to see it turn into a detention facility, and [if the plan is to build a detention center,] making profit off of people&rsquo;s misery is just morally wrong.&rdquo;</p><p>Another resident, William Krebes, said Hobart&rsquo;s motto is &ldquo;The Friendly City.&rdquo; He said he&rsquo;s lived in Hobart for 30 years and now has grandchildren in the city.</p><p>&ldquo;The reason we came here is because Hobart is a nice town,&quot; Krebes&nbsp;said. &quot;For some reason, a prison doesn&rsquo;t fit that image that we&rsquo;ve been creating over the last 40 years.&quot;</p><p>Chicagoans may be familiar with Hobart for the Southlake Mall on U.S. Route 30 or the town&#39;s&nbsp;<a href="http://www.countylineorchard.com/">County Line Apple Orchard.</a></p><p>City officals confirmed at Wednesday&#39;s meeting that GEO Group, based in Boca Raton, Fla., recently purchased land on Hobart&rsquo;s western corridor near Robinson Lake and I-65, just north of 61st Avenue.</p><p>The City of Gary&rsquo;s eastern border sits across I-65 from Hobart, where the center could be built.</p><p>The Hobart resident who previously owned the land in question told the council that he sold the property to a firm, but the actual buyer was kept confidential. He said he didn&rsquo;t know a detention facility could be built on the land.</p><p>GEO Group, which did not have a representative at the meeting, told WBEZ that it could not confirm the purchasing of the land or its plans to open a facility in Hobart.</p><p>&ldquo;Our company is a publicly-traded Real Estate Investment Trust and as such as part of our business, we routinely engage in real estate transactions including the purchase and sale of properties and land around the country,&rdquo; said GEO Group spokesman Pablo E. Paez. &ldquo;As a matter of policy, our company cannot comment on specific real estate transactions, and it would [be] premature to discuss any potential plans for any of our development properties around the country.&rdquo;</p><p>GEO Group currently runs two facilities near Indianapolis but neither handles illegal immigrants.</p><p>The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) also would not confirm whether Hobart is on their radar for possible site locations.</p><p>In summer 2012, a site proposal in south suburban Crete, Ill. was rejected by residents. In fact, some of those Crete residents who opposed the plan for their town arrived in Hobart to voice their ongoing objection.</p><p>But ICE&rsquo;s desire for a center continues, and so does its search.</p><p>&ldquo;U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement has identified a need for an immigration detention facility within the greater Chicago area,&quot; ICE spokeswoman Gail Montenegro told WBEZ. &quot;This proposed facility is part of the agency&rsquo;s long-term nationwide effort to reform the current immigration detention system by improving the conditions of confinement, and by locating detainees closer to where they are apprehended so that they be can near their families, attorneys, community resources and the ICE Field Office.&quot;</p><p>&ldquo;ICE is currently performing market research in the Chicago area and released a Request for Information (RFI) on Dec. 6, 2012 on the Federal Business Opportunities web portal. ICE is committed to making sensible detention reforms, and we will continue to look for other locations to achieve that goal.&rdquo;</p><p>Nonetheless, Hobart Mayor Brian Snedecor says neither ICE or GEO Group have submitted an official proposal to the city. He says it would be unfair and unethical to make a comment on whether the city supports or reject the idea.</p><p>&quot;I want people to be treated fairly and that includes immigration decisions,&quot; said Snedecor, who is also the city&rsquo;s former police chief.&nbsp;&quot;People are human and deserve to be treated in a fair and democratic process. But we need an opportunity to vet this, to know if there is ever going to be something. There may be nothing that comes of this. Let the process take place.&rdquo;</p><p>Snedecor confirmed there have been preliminary talks with city officials, but such talks are routinely kept confidential with firms looking to do business with the city.</p><p>If and when an official proposal is put forth, approvals must come from the city&rsquo;s planning and zoning departments, along with final approval from the City Council.</p><p><em>Michael Puente covers Indiana news for WBEZ. Follow him on Twitter @MikePuenteNews</em>.</p></p> Thu, 21 Nov 2013 10:50:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/indiana-city-may-be-next-site-illegal-immigrant-detention-center-109212 Gay rights groups: Don’t leave us out of immigration bills http://www.wbez.org/news/gay-rights-groups-don%E2%80%99t-leave-us-out-immigration-bills-106813 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/Gay Immigration_130424_abk.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Some gay rights groups in Illinois are now applying their own political pressure in the fight to overhaul the nation&rsquo;s immigration system, as they worry a final deal could leave same-sex couples in the lurch.</p><p dir="ltr">The political difficulty of recognizing same-sex couples in U.S. immigration law was <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/gutierrez-ryan-push-immigration-overhaul-chicago-106786">on display Monday</a>, when U.S. Reps. Luis Gutierrez, a liberal Chicago Democrat, and Paul Ryan, a Wisconsin Republican and former GOP vice presidential nominee, made stops in Chicago to plug their ideas for an immigration overhaul in the House.</p><p dir="ltr">Bipartisanship and compromise were the buzzwords of the day, until someone in the audience at a downtown luncheon asked whether Gutierrez thought the immigration changes would recognize same-sex relationships.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;And I will fight for it, but I do not believe it will be in a bill,&rdquo; Gutierrez said, adding that he supported the idea, but was concerned about its ability to gain support in Congress.</p><p dir="ltr">After a long pause, Ryan, who opposes same-sex marriage, chimed in.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;So I&rsquo;m gonna stick with just the immigration stuff here,&rdquo; he said, giving a nervous laugh.</p><p dir="ltr">The exchange illustrates the political challenge of including so-called bi-national same-sex couples in an immigration overhaul, particularly in the GOP-led House of Representatives, where cobbling together bipartisan support for an immigration bill is already a tall order, even without tossing in the hot-button issue of gay rights.</p><p dir="ltr">But some activists in Chicago say recognition for same-sex couples must be included. They were surprised that Gutierrez seemed to declare the idea dead on arrival, even before a House bill has been introduced.</p><p dir="ltr">Recognition in U.S. immigration law would mean a same-sex relationship could be grounds to grant legal status to a foreign spouse, or to prevent their deportation. It could also help gay foreign couples who are working in the U.S. on visas.</p><p dir="ltr">Those laws currently apply only to heterosexual couples because federal law defines marriage as being between one man and one woman, though the U.S. Supreme Court is now reviewing the issue.</p><p dir="ltr">That provision could have a big impact on the lives of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender immigrants who are now in the U.S. illegally &ndash; about 267,000 people, according to an <a href="http://williamsinstitute.law.ucla.edu/research/census-lgbt-demographics-studies/us-lgbt-immigrants-mar-2013/">estimate</a> from the Williams Institute, a think tank that researches LGBT legal issues.</p><p dir="ltr">Gutierrez&rsquo;s political calculus doesn&rsquo;t sit well Julio Rodriguez. He chairs the LGBTQ Immigration Rights Coalition of Chicago, which advocates for gay rights in immigration law.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;You can&rsquo;t pick and choose when you wanna be our allies,&rdquo; Rodriguez said, adding that full recognition for same-sex couples is the right thing to do, regardless of political difficulties.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;We helped elect many of those folks who are sitting in Congress that are our allies,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;We&rsquo;ve provided financial resources, we&rsquo;ve provided people on the ground, and we expect a return on that investment.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">Recognition for same-sex couples is not included in the sweeping immigration overhaul bill introduced in the Democrat-controlled Senate last week, though gay rights activists say they&rsquo;re lobbying Illinois&rsquo; Senators to have it included via a later amendment.</p><p dir="ltr">But Gutierrez&rsquo;s suggestion that it may not be included in a House version came as news to some of his allies in Chicago&rsquo;s gay rights community.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;That is very surprising to me,&rdquo; said Jane Merrill, with the Center on Halsted, an LGBTQ community center on Chicago&rsquo;s North Side. &ldquo;Though the bi-national same-sex couple provision was on in there, there was a lot of positive feeling that it would be.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">Passing immigration reform and recognizing same-sex couples in immigration law shouldn&#39;t be mutually exclusive, Merrill said.</p><p dir="ltr">But Randy Hannig, Director of Public Policy at Equality Illinois, suggested his group&rsquo;s lobbying efforts will remain focused on the Senate for the time being.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;We realize just how hard a lot of our issues [will] be to make it through both chambers before we make it to the president&rsquo;s desk,&rdquo; Hannig said. &ldquo;I guess for lack of a better term, we&rsquo;re definitely keeping it real.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">Gutierrez, for his part, said in an interview with WBEZ on Tuesday he wants to include same-sex couples in an immigration overhaul. He pointed to his longtime support of gay rights, though in the past, he&rsquo;s gone <a href="http://www.wbez.org/story/news/politics/immigration-bill-leaves-same-sex-families-out">back</a>&nbsp;on <a href="http://www.wbez.org/story/news/immigration/guti%C3%A3%C2%A9rrez-sees-immigrants-gays-uniting">forth</a>&nbsp;on how hard to push for them when it comes to his trademark issue of immigration reform.</p><p dir="ltr">Now, as one of the key Democrats working to navigate a massive immigration overhaul through the GOP-led House, Guiterrez said he&rsquo;s simply being realistic when he tells his allies in the gay rights movement that the votes aren&rsquo;t there.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;You shouldn&rsquo;t pander,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;You shouldn&rsquo;t raise false expectations. That&rsquo;s not what I expect from a friend and an ally.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">Gutierrez said he hopes to introduce the House immigration overhaul bill he&rsquo;s drafting with Rep. Ryan in a few weeks. But the whole question could be moot by the end of June, when the U.S. Supreme Court is expected to rule on the federal definition of marriage.</p><p dir="ltr"><em>Alex Keefe is a political reporter for WBEZ. Follow him on Twitter <a href="https://twitter.com/akeefe">@akeefe</a>.</em></p></p> Wed, 24 Apr 2013 10:20:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/gay-rights-groups-don%E2%80%99t-leave-us-out-immigration-bills-106813 Illinois House committee approves driver's licenses for illegal immigrants http://www.wbez.org/news/illinois-house-committee-approves-drivers-licenses-illegal-immigrants-104743 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/drivers license.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>A measure that would allow people who are in the United States illegally to obtain an Illinois driver&rsquo;s license is moving through the state legislature.</p><p>The House Transportation Safety &amp; Vehicle Committee approved the measure 6-3 Monday, with a room full of supporters cheering upon its passage.</p><p>State Rep. Bill Cunningham, a Chicago Democrat, voted against the measure. He said he supports the concept, but he voted against it because the bill does not require fingerprinting driver&rsquo;s license applicants. He said that leaves the system susceptible to fraud.</p><p>&ldquo;I think our ID system in the state has to have some integrity,&rdquo; said State. Rep. Bill Cunningham, a Chicago Democrat. &ldquo;And I fear that it won&rsquo;t have that unless there is a fingerprinting component.&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;You have to ask, &lsquo;Would people actually use this thing? Would people actually apply for this thing if fingerprints were going to be required?&rsquo; testified Fred Tsao, from the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights. &ldquo;That is a major concern in the community.&rdquo;</p><p>Tsao said a fourth of all counties in the state mandates fingerprint sharing and requiring the Secretary of State&rsquo;s office, which oversees Illinois&rsquo; driver&rsquo;s license program, would be a disincentive for people in the country illegally to apply for a license.</p><p>Alan Mares made the trip to Springfield for the vote from Chicago. After the vote, he said the bill would directly affect him, since he is not a citizen of the U.S.</p><p>&ldquo;I take public transportation, but it would be easier if I had a car or a driver&rsquo;s license so I could get around the city,&rdquo; Mares said.</p><p>Mares, 19, said he went through a driver&rsquo;s education program in high school and he has driven before, but he wants the new program to pass so he can obtain the new license.</p><p>The governor&rsquo;s office estimates 250,000 people drive in Illinois without passing the proper tests. The Illinois State Police voiced its support of the measure, but a group representing chiefs of police around Illinois testified against it, saying the bill is unsafe.</p><p>The new driver&rsquo;s license program would not allow those who hold the ID to board planes or vote.</p><p>The governor and both Democratic and Republican leadership support the measure. The bill has already passed the Senate with bipartisan support, but the full House of Representatives still needs to approve the measure before it&rsquo;s sent to the governor&rsquo;s desk for his signature.</p></p> Mon, 07 Jan 2013 11:28:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/illinois-house-committee-approves-drivers-licenses-illegal-immigrants-104743 Illinois Senate approves driver's licenses for those in the country illegally http://www.wbez.org/news/illinois-senate-approves-drivers-licenses-those-country-illegally-104191 <p><p>Those who are in the country illegally could soon be allowed to get Illinois driver&rsquo;s licenses.</p><p>The State Senate approved the measure Tuesday with largely bipartisan support, but the bill still needs approval from the House of Representatives. The bill would require those in the country illegally to pass a driver&#39;s test and buy insurance. Lawmakers estimate 250,000 immigrant drivers in Illinois don&#39;t have proper licenses.</p><p>Republican State Sen. Bill Brady was one of the 41 votes approving the measure.</p><p>&ldquo;We live in an imperfect world and an imperfect state,&rdquo; Brady said. &ldquo;The fact of the matter is, there is a cost to society when we have uninsured, untrained and untested drivers. The fact of the matter is, they are not going to self-deport. They&rsquo;re not gonna &mdash; the federal government&rsquo;s not going to deport them. They are here.&rdquo;</p><p>Leaders from both parties in the House and Senate have also endorsed the proposal, saying it will help make Illinois&rsquo; roads safer.</p><p>Fourteen state senators voted against the proposal.</p><p>&ldquo;Now we&rsquo;re expected to believe that folks who are already breaking the immigration law, the employment law, the traffic laws are now going to follow the insurance laws,&rdquo; said State Sen. Chris Lauzen.</p><p>Gov. Pat Quinn has said he favors the legislation.</p></p> Tue, 04 Dec 2012 16:04:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/illinois-senate-approves-drivers-licenses-those-country-illegally-104191 Proposal to ban private detention centers stumbles http://www.wbez.org/news/proposal-ban-private-detention-centers-stumbles-99719 <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/Dennis_RebolettiCROPPEDSCALED.jpg" style="margin: 4px 0px 0px; float: left; width: 211px; height: 323px;" title="Illinois Rep. Dennis Reboletti, R- Elmhurst, argues against the bill on the House floor Thursday. (AP/Seth Perlman)" /></div><p><em>Updated Friday, June 1, at 12:30 a.m.</em></p><p>A bill that would have blocked an immigrant detention center near Chicago failed Thursday in a series of close Illinois House floor votes as lawmakers raced to adjourn for the summer.</p><p>Parliamentary moves by the bill&rsquo;s chief sponsor, Rep. Edward Acevedo (D-Chicago), kept the bill alive late into the evening. In one roll call, the measure came within one vote of the 60 needed for passage. A 57-58 roll call, with two members voting present, defeated the bill.</p><p>The legislation would have banned government agencies at the local and state levels from contracting with private firms to build or run civil detention centers. It would have thwarted a proposal for Nashville-based Corrections Corporation of America to construct and operate a 788-bed facility in the village of Crete, a suburb 30 miles south of Chicago. The facility would hold detainees for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.</p><p>Sen. Antonio Munoz (D-Chicago) pushed the bill, <a href="http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/BillStatus.asp?DocNum=1064&amp;GAID=11&amp;DocTypeID=SB&amp;SessionID=84&amp;GA=97">SB1064</a>, through the Senate in March. Gov. Pat Quinn&rsquo;s office said he would sign the measure if it reached his desk.&nbsp;</p><p>As the House took it up, however, Springfield-based Dorgan-McPike &amp; Associates lobbied hard for CCA. Other opposition to the measure came from immigration enforcement proponents and building-trades unions eager for the Crete project&rsquo;s construction jobs.</p><p>The bill&rsquo;s supporters countered with an amendment aimed at winning votes from downstate representatives. The amendment would have allowed Tri-County Justice and Detention Center to keep its private operator, Paladin Eastside Psychological Services. That facility, located in Ullin, holds ICE detainees.</p><p>During a 25-minute House floor debate on the bill Thursday afternoon, Acevedo pointed out that the Crete construction jobs would be temporary and that the project&rsquo;s permanent jobs could come at the expense of facilities that hold ICE detainees in other parts of Illinois.</p><p>&ldquo;The people of Crete, who you would think would be the most eager for these jobs, overwhelmingly do not want this facility,&rdquo; Acevedo said. &ldquo;They see the facility will place huge burdens on the community &mdash; traffic, police and other costs &mdash; as well as abuse that a private prison company could bring.&rdquo;</p><p>Acevedo pointed to a deadly riot this month at CCA-operated Adams County Correctional Facility in Natchez, Mississippi.</p><p>But Rep. Dennis Reboletti (R-Elmhurst) brought up Indiana, an Illinois neighbor that allows CCA to operate a county jail in Indianapolis. &ldquo;Isn&rsquo;t it possible that if we do pass this law that this company could simply go into Indiana &mdash; locate the same facility and house the same detainees we would in Crete &mdash; just across the border?&rdquo;</p><p>A written statement from CCA spokesman Mike Machak called the bill&rsquo;s failure &ldquo;an important step in realizing the Obama administration&rsquo;s vision for detention, which provides detainees awaiting civil proceedings with a humane and appropriate environment.&rdquo;</p><p>The bill&rsquo;s supporters offered a different interpretation. &ldquo;This was a David and Goliath fight,&rdquo; Lawrence Benito, executive director of the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, said in a statement. &ldquo;Though we were able to add new Republican votes, many Democrats showed deep disrespect for the immigrant families in their own districts.&rdquo;</p><p>Crete officials have yet to approve the detention center but have touted the jobs potential. They have also talked up expected taxes and per-detainee payments for the village.</p></p> Thu, 31 May 2012 17:48:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/proposal-ban-private-detention-centers-stumbles-99719 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 Sheriff decries immigration detainer ordinance http://www.wbez.org/story/sheriff-decries-immigration-detainer-ordinance-96260 <p><p><img alt="The Cook County Board is mulling proposed changes to the measure. (WBEZ/File)" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/insert-image/2012-February/2012-02-09/CountyBoardscaled.JPG" style="margin: 6px 18px 5px 12px; float: right; width: 349px; height: 244px;" title="The Cook County Board is mulling proposed amendments to a measure that frees some jail inmates wanted by ICE. (WBEZ/File)">Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart says he wants changes to an ordinance that frees some jail inmates wanted by immigration authorities. But the law’s supporters say they still have the votes to keep it intact.</p><p>The ordinance, approved last September, prohibits the sheriff from complying with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement detainers. Those are requests that the county hold specified inmates up to two business days longer than their criminal cases require. The detainers gave ICE extra time to pick up the inmates for possible deportation.</p><p>The ordinance has come under fire as news outlets have focused on a convicted felon who completed his probation before going to jail on charges of killing a man in a Northwest Side hit-and-run incident last year. ICE named the inmate on a detainer. After the ordinance passed, he posted bond, walked free and went missing.</p><p>On Thursday, a County Board committee held a four-hour hearing on proposals to honor the detainers for inmates who are potentially dangerous. At the hearing, Dart said the jail had released 346 inmates named on ICE detainers since the ordinance passed. He said 11 of those ended up arrested again on a variety of charges.</p><p>Dart also voiced support for one of those proposals, an amendment introduced last month by Timothy Schneider (R-Bartlett) that would require compliance with the detainers for inmates who appeared on a federal terrorist list or who faced various felony charges. Dart said Schneider’s proposal would target inmates who “have shown that they’re a danger.” Dart criticized another proposal, an amendment filed by Peter Silvestri (R-Elmwood Park) and John Daley (D-Chicago), that would give the sheriff discretion to honor detainers.</p><p>Commissioner Larry Suffredin (D-Evanston), who chairs the committee, told WBEZ he opposes both amendments and said neither has enough support to pass. But Suffredin, who voted for the ordinance, said he is open to “cleaning it up to give the sheriff clearer discretion” on whether to honor detainers. Suffredin said any committee votes on amending the ordinance would be next month.</p><p>County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, interviewed by WBEZ during the hearing, pointed out that many citizens get out of jail and cause trouble, too.</p><p>“People who are accused of very serious crimes are given bail every day because a judge makes a determination that they’re not a flight risk and they’re not a danger to our community,” she said. “So if you have a concern about people who are accused of serious crimes being released back into our community, it’s got to be broader concern than the two or three percent of them who are undocumented.”</p><p>Preckwinkle talked up a study that’s looking for ways to improve the bond system. The county’s five-member Judicial Advisory Council is carrying out the study and planning to make recommendations within six months.</p><p>The ordinance, sponsored by Commissioner Jesús García (D-Chicago), 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. The law’s supporters say the detainers eroded community trust in local police and violated inmates’ due-process rights. A federal court ruling in Indiana last summer called compliance with the detainers “voluntary.”</p></p> Fri, 10 Feb 2012 11:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/sheriff-decries-immigration-detainer-ordinance-96260 Rustbelt city wants immigrants, skilled or not http://www.wbez.org/content/rustbelt-city-wants-immigrants-skilled-or-not-0 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-November/2011-11-30/2.JPG" alt="" /><p><p><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/insert-image/2011-November/2011-11-30/3.JPG" style="width: 605px; height: 404px;" title="Deserted houses like this one mar Dayton’s East End. (WBEZ/Chip Mitchell)"></p><p style="text-align: left;">Lifelong Dayton resident Monica Schultz, 36, brings me to the East End block where she grew up. “This whole street was full of families,” she says. “Kids were running around playing, all within my age range.”</p><p style="text-align: left;">Now no kids are in sight.</p><p style="text-align: left;">Schultz points to a half dozen abandoned houses, including one right next door to her family’s place. She says the city has boarded it up a few times but stray cats keep finding their way in.</p><p style="text-align: left;">“We had a flea infestation problem,” she tells me. “People walking by could see the fleas or feel the fleas or get the fleas. All of the yards in the neighborhood here were becoming infested with fleas.”</p><p style="text-align: left;">Schultz says the city can’t keep up with houses like this. “It’s one of many that need to be bulldozed,” she says. “But it’s on a list.”</p><p> <style type="text/css"> div .inline { width: 290px; float: left; margin-right: 19px; margin-left: 3px; clear: left; font-family: Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 1em; background-repeat: no-repeat; background-position: 0pt 5px; padding-left: 3px; margin-bottom: 0.5em; }div .inlineContent { border-top: 1px dotted rgb(170, 33, 29); margin-bottom: 5px; margin-top: 2px; }ul { margin-left: 15px; }li { font-family: Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif; font-size: 12px; line-height: 1em; background-repeat: no-repeat; background-position: 0pt 5px; padding-left: 3px; margin-bottom: 0.5em; }</style> </p><div class="inline"><div class="inlineContent"><a href="/frontandcenter"><img alt="" src="http://www.wbez.org/sites/default/files/story/insert-image/2011-November/2011-11-06/FC-logo-sm_0.jpg" style="width: 280px; height: 38px;" title=""></a><ul><li><strong><a href="http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-11-28/great-lakes-workers-faring-better-canadian-side-border-94389">Workers faring better in Canada</a></strong></li><li><strong><a href="http://www.wbez.org/story/using-sound-find-leaks-and-save-dollars-94303">Using sound to find leaks and save dollars</a></strong></li><li><strong><a href="http://www.wbez.org/story/gas-drilling-could-take-air-out-offshore-wind-93875">Gas drilling could take air out of offshore wind</a></strong></li></ul></div><div class="inlineContent">&nbsp;</div></div><p>Dayton’s population has been shrinking since the 1960s. Most of the area’s factory jobs are long gone. To save the city, Schultz has embraced a new idea: Help immigrants and refugees lay roots in Dayton.</p><p>Schultz, who owns a small marketing firm, helped lead community meetings that generated a 72-point plan called “Welcome Dayton.” City commissioners approved the plan this fall. The points range from better immigrant access to social services, to more translations of court materials, to grants for immigrants to open shops in a dilapidated commercial corridor, to a soccer event that supporters envision as a local World Cup tournament.</p><p>Schultz tells me the plan could revive a Dayton entrepreneurial spirit that sparked inventions ranging from the cash register to the airplane. “You would have small businesses,” she says. “You would have coffee shops and you would have bakeries and you would have specialty grocery stores.”</p><p>Dayton is among several rustbelt cities suffering from population loss and brain drain. To create businesses and jobs, some communities are trying to attract immigrants, especially highly educated ones. Dayton stands out for the attention its plan pays to immigrants without wealth or skills.</p><p>The plan even addresses people without permission to be in the country. One provision calls for police officers to quit asking suspects about their immigration status unless the crime was “serious.” Another point could lead to a city identification card that would help residents do everything from open a bank account to buy a cell phone.</p><p>City Manager Tim Riordan, Dayton’s chief executive, says welcoming all types of immigrants will make the area more cosmopolitan. “I think there would be a vibrancy,” he says. “We’d start to have some international investment of companies deciding they ought to locate here.”</p><p>Foreign-born residents so far amount to 3 percent of the city’s 142,000 residents. For a mid-sized U.S. city these days, that’s not many.</p><p>But Dayton’s immigrants and refugees are increasing their numbers and, Riordan says, they’re already making a difference. He points to a neighborhood north of downtown where some Ahiska Turks have settled. “They were refugees in Russia," he says. "Here they’ve bought houses. They’ve fixed them up. And, sometimes when I talk to hardware store owners, people will come in and they’ll buy a window at a time. ‘I’ve got enough money to put in another window.’ It’s slow-but-sure change.”</p><p><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/insert-image/2011-November/2011-11-30/2.JPG" style="margin: 4px 18px 2px 1px; float: left; width: 275px; height: 280px;" title="A Dayton pizza parlor run by Ahiska Turks adds life to a decaying neighborhood. (WBEZ/Chip Mitchell)"></p><p>Not everyone in Dayton is on board with the plan.</p><p>In a corner tavern on the East End, a 62-year-old bartender serves the only customer what she calls his last can of beer for the night. It’s a Friday, just 11 p.m., but she’s closing. “The owner can’t pay me to stay any longer,” she tells me, speaking on condition I don’t name her or the bar.</p><p>The bartender says the tavern could be on its last legs and tells me what happened to three other East End bars where she worked. They all shut down. She says that’s because many of the neighborhood’s Appalachian families, who arrived for manufacturing jobs after World War II, have moved away.</p><p>“NCR closed down, Dayton Tire and Rubber closed down, GM and Delphi and Frigidaire,” she says, pausing only when her customer slams down the beer and bellows something about a “last paycheck.”</p><p>The bartender tells me she doesn’t like how Riordan and other Dayton officials are handling the exodus of families who’ve been paying local taxes for generations. “Why won’t he try to keep those kinds of people here?” she asks. “He wants to welcome the immigrants to come in here. What can&nbsp;they&nbsp;do? Where are they going to get the money to fix up anything? What jobs are they going to get to maintain what they fix up here? There are no jobs here. None.”</p><p>It’s not just locals like the bartender who have doubts about “Welcome Dayton.”</p><p>Steven Camarota, research director at the Center for Immigration Studies, a Washington group that pushes for strict immigration controls, acknowledges that attracting immigrants would increase the size of Dayton’s economy. “But that’s different than arguing that there’s a benefit,” he says. “Growing an area’s gross domestic product, but not the <em>per capita</em> GDP, doesn’t mean anything. It wouldn’t be very helpful. In fact, there might be problems with that.”</p><p>Camarota says the low-skilled immigrants would put downward pressure on wages for workers on Dayton’s bottom rungs.</p><p>But Italian-born economist Giovanni Peri of the University of California, Davis, says low-skilled immigrants would bring what Dayton seeks—and more: “One, they will increase the variety of local restaurants, local shops. Second, they will provide a variety of local services, such as household services, care of the children, of the elderly. Third, they will also develop and bring an atmosphere of diversity and higher tolerance.” Peri says these low-skilled contributions would all help Dayton attract immigrants with more resources.</p><p>The willingness of many immigrants to perform manual labor for low pay, Peri adds, could create jobs for longtime residents. He points to landscaping companies: “They will need people who mow the lawn but also they will need accountants, salespersons, a manager and drivers.”</p><p>Dayton’s approach—welcoming immigrants with and without skills—is the “optimal strategy,” Peri says.</p><p><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/insert-image/2011-December/2011-12-01/4.JPG" style="margin: 4px 18px 2px 1px; float: left; width: 275px; height: 219px;" title="A Dayton church translates sermons to Spanish through headphones. (WBEZ/Chip Mitchell)">Whether a city’s immigrant-integration plan can actually attract many people is another question. About an hour east of Dayton, the city of Columbus launched an immigrant-friendly initiative in 2002 and saw its foreign-born population grow fast. But that city’s economy is much more robust than Dayton’s. It had already been attracting immigrants for years.</p><p>The results of “Welcome Dayton” could depend on how it works for city residents like a 25-year-old mother whom I’ll call Ana López. (She&nbsp;doesn’t have papers to be in the country so I agreed not to use her real name.) López says she came from the Mexican state of Puebla as a teenager at the urging of a friend who had arrived in Dayton earlier.</p><p>López says her first job was in a restaurant with a big buffet. “We didn’t come to take work away from anyone,” she tells me in Spanish. “Rather, there are jobs nobody else wants.”</p><p>Now López and her husband have three kids, all U.S. citizens. The family has managed to buy a house. And it’s found a congregation, College Hill Community Church, that provides simultaneous Spanish interpretation through headphones.</p><p>But Dayton hasn’t always been hospitable. López says police officers caught her brother-in-law driving without a license and turned him over to federal officials, who deported him.</p><p>Looking at the “Welcome Dayton” plan, López says providing the ID cards and removing the police from immigration enforcement could make a difference for families like hers. “These families would tell their friends and relatives to move to Dayton,” she says.</p><p>That’s exactly what city leaders want to hear.</p></p> Thu, 01 Dec 2011 11:27:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/content/rustbelt-city-wants-immigrants-skilled-or-not-0 Suburban mayor criticizes Cook County immigration policy http://www.wbez.org/story/suburban-mayor-criticizes-cook-county-immigration-policy-92476 <p><p>A Northwest suburban mayor is criticizing a new Cook County policy for being weak on illegal immigration.</p><p>On September 7, the Cook County Board of Commissioners approved a measure that allows the sheriff to release undocumented immigrants on bond from jail. The federal government asks local jails to hold undocumented immigrants that are accused of a crime, until immigration agents can detain them, and possibly deport them.</p><p>Hanover Park mayor Rod Craig argues that policy puts criminals back on the street.</p><p>"Some are born in this county, some aspire to become citizens, and some just want to come here and create mayhem, and I'm not going to stand for that," said Craig. "And we need the support of our county government to come to some clarity on what it is they really want."</p><p>Sheriff Tom Dart has said he doesn't like detaining undocumented immigrants in jail until the federal government can pick them up, because it makes it harder for local police to fight crime. Craig has written letters to both Dart and the Cook County board asking them to reform these immigration policies. He's worried about a repeat of an incident that occurred a few months back, when a group of suspected illegal immigrants accused of assaulting police officers were released from jail without being detained because an immigration agent couldn't come in time.</p><p>But Steve Patterson, a spokesman for the sheriff's office, sees the situation differently.</p><p>"I just think it's a case where the mayor doesn't understand what happened, that's all," he said.</p><p>According to Patterson, the sheriff's office released 1,665 detainees into the custody of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) last year.</p><p>Craig said he's spoken to his Hanover Park's local Cook County commissioner Tim Schneider about a potential resolution to amend the ordinance. According to Craig, Schneider was optimistic about working out a new solution.</p></p> Mon, 26 Sep 2011 18:29:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/suburban-mayor-criticizes-cook-county-immigration-policy-92476 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