WBEZ | Department of Homeland Security http://www.wbez.org/tags/department-homeland-security Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Conservative legal group challenges Cook County immigration policy http://www.wbez.org/news/conservative-legal-group-challenges-cook-county-immigration-policy-106782 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/AP111129143637.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Invoking the Boston Marathon bombings, a national conservative group has filed a lawsuit aimed at a Cook County ordinance that requires jail personnel to disregard federal immigration detainers.</p><p>Washington-based Judicial Watch says the county has no legal right to ignore the detainers, which are U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement requests that local jails hold specified individuals up to two business days beyond what their criminal cases require.</p><p>President Obama&rsquo;s administration says the detainers, which help ICE put the inmates into deportation proceedings, are crucial for focusing immigration enforcement on criminals.</p><p>Cook County officials say detainers also erode community trust in local police. In 2011, the County Board approved an ordinance that halted detainer compliance by the county&rsquo;s massive jail. ICE abruptly lost convenient access to hundreds of immigration violators each year.&nbsp;Lawmakers in other parts of the country, meanwhile, approved bills modeled after the policy.</p><p>The suit, which claims federal law preempts the ordinance, asks Cook County Circuit Court to strike down the local measure and compel Sheriff Tom Dart to comply with the detainers.&nbsp;The suit accuses Dart of &ldquo;failure to carry out his legal duties under both federal and state law.&rdquo;</p><p>At a Monday press conference Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton pointed to last week&rsquo;s news events. &ldquo;In light of the Boston Marathon bombings, there is a national-security component to these detainers by ICE.&rdquo;</p><p>Authorities say two Chechen immigrants &mdash; one a permanent-resident visa holder, the other a naturalized U.S. citizen &mdash; are suspected of having planted the bombs that exploded April 15 in Boston.</p><p>Judicial Watch is representing the suit&rsquo;s plaintiff, Chicago&nbsp;resident&nbsp;Brian McCann, who is the brother of a pedestrian killed in a 2011 hit-and-run collision in Chicago&rsquo;s Logan Square neighborhood. The alleged driver, a Mexican immigrant named Saúl Chávez, had a DUI conviction. He&nbsp;was arrested and charged with the hit and run. A Cook County judge set the bond at $250,000.</p><p>ICE suspected Chávez was in the country illegally and slapped a detainer on him. But after the county enacted the ordinance, Chávez posted $25,000&nbsp;&mdash;&nbsp;the required 10 percent of the bond. He walked free and went missing.</p><p>&ldquo;Dart is thumbing his nose at the federal government and replacing federal immigration priorities with Cook County&rsquo;s own immigration policy,&rdquo; Fitton said. &ldquo;Releasing these criminal aliens before they can be taken into custody by ICE endangers the public.&rdquo;</p><p>Fitton echoed Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and ICE Director John Morton, who have said the Cook County ordinance threatens public safety.</p><p>That claim was the subject of a <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/ice-detainers-public-safety-issue-99190" target="_blank">WBEZ investigation</a>&nbsp;that&nbsp;found that inmates freed as a result of the ordinance had not reoffended or jumped bail more than other former inmates had.</p><p>Dart&rsquo;s office, in a statement late Monday, pointed to the sheriff&rsquo;s support for allowing the county to honor ICE detainers for inmates charged with violent offenses and inmates with a number of prior convictions.</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> and <a href="http://www.linkedin.com/in/ChipMitchell1">LinkedIn</a>.</em></p></p> Mon, 22 Apr 2013 16:02:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/conservative-legal-group-challenges-cook-county-immigration-policy-106782 Low-wage worker advocates slam immigration overhaul’s visa plan http://www.wbez.org/news/low-wage-worker-advocates-slam-immigration-overhaul%E2%80%99s-visa-plan-106679 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/ImmigrationGangOfEight.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>A proposed immigration overhaul that a group of U.S. senators including Dick Durbin (D-Illinois) introduced Wednesday is worrying some advocates for low-wage Chicago workers.<br /><br />The advocates are pointing to a part of the plan that would bring foreign workers to the United States under a new program called the W Visa. The proposal, the advocates say, is short on resources for protecting the workers from wage theft, safety hazards and whistleblowing retaliation &mdash; problems that have plagued U.S. &ldquo;guest worker&rdquo; programs over the years.</p><p>&ldquo;What part of the legislation provides 3,500 new occupational safety monitors and wage inspectors?&rdquo; asked Arise Chicago organizer&nbsp;Jorge Mújica, referring to the number of new customs agents proposed by the bill. &ldquo;The plan only talks about hiring for border control,&rdquo; said Mújica, whose group focuses on workers at car washes, second-hand stores, embroidery shops and other sites.&nbsp;&ldquo;So no one can guarantee protections for the workers.&rdquo;</p><p>The W Visa program emerged last month from negotiations between the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the AFL-CIO, the nation&rsquo;s largest union federation. The program would admit up to 20,000 low-skilled foreign workers starting in 2015. The annual cap would grow to 75,000 by 2018. The number of visas would fluctuate, depending on data such as job openings and unemployment rates.<br /><br />Employers say the W Visa would provide their first good mechanism for bringing in nonimmigrant workers for low-skilled jobs that are not seasonal. The industries could range from hospitality to meatpacking, laundries to home health care.&nbsp;The employers say they have a hard time finding workers already in the United States who are willing to fill certain positions and that raising wages to attract workers could put the companies out of business.</p><p>The bill would create a new agency, dubbed the Bureau of Immigration and Labor Market Research, within the Department of Homeland Security to manage the number of workers who come annually. The agency would also handle complaints about employers.<br /><br />In the negotiations, unions tried to limit any new influx of low-wage foreign workers into the U.S. labor market and to distance the W Visa program from an existing &ldquo;guest worker&rdquo; system that leaves many of the foreigners vulnerable to abuses.</p><p>AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka says the W Visa will neither tie the workers to a single employer nor drag down the wages and working conditions of U.S. workers. &ldquo;We have created a new model, a modern visa system that includes both a bureau to collect and analyze labor market data, as well as significant worker protections,&rdquo; Trumka said in a statement this month. &ldquo;We expect that this new program, which benefits not just business, but everyone, will promote long overdue reforms by raising the bar for existing [visa] programs.&rdquo;<br /><br />But Leone José Bicchieri, executive director of the Chicago Workers Collaborative, predicts the Senate bill would let down the visa recipients.<br /><br />&ldquo;In my experience with agricultural guest-worker programs, you have all of these protections in place and on paper,&rdquo; said Bicchieri, who worked for years as a farmworker organizer before joining the collaborative, which advocates for temporary workers. &ldquo;Now imagine having hundreds of thousands of [W Visa] workers all across the United States. And these workers are not talking with [government] monitors every day. There&rsquo;s not enough money to do that.&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;They&rsquo;re talking with supervisors whose job is to make sure they pick the crop or cut the meat or clean the room,&rdquo; Bicchieri added. &ldquo;And these supervisors are constantly shouting at these workers, saying things like, &lsquo;You better hurry up or this is the last time you&rsquo;ll come back and work on any of these programs and I&rsquo;ll make sure your cousins and any family member in your hometown never get accepted to come back.&rsquo; &rdquo;<br /><br />Durbin&rsquo;s office in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday did not comment on whether the W Visa program&rsquo;s labor protections were sufficient.</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> and <a href="http://www.linkedin.com/in/ChipMitchell1">LinkedIn</a>.</em></p></p> Tue, 16 Apr 2013 10:01:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/low-wage-worker-advocates-slam-immigration-overhaul%E2%80%99s-visa-plan-106679 Attorneys steer undocumented clients away from a citizenship path http://www.wbez.org/news/attorneys-steer-undocumented-clients-away-citizenship-path-105891 <p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/AP55053942139crop.jpg" style="margin: 4px 0px 0px 0px; float: right; height: 246px; width: 350px;" title="Immigrants take the U.S. oath of citizenship during a Jan. 28 naturalization ceremony in Irving, Texas. (AP/File)" />Some immigration attorneys say they are steering most undocumented clients away from a citizenship path created in the name of &ldquo;family unity&rdquo;&nbsp;by President Barack Obama&rsquo;s administration.</p><p>&ldquo;I&rsquo;m telling most folks to wait and see how the rule is implemented before applying,&rdquo; veteran Chicago immigration lawyer Royal Berg said.</p><p>&ldquo;Any information the applicant gives to the government can be used against the individual,&rdquo; Berg added, &ldquo;and could result in the applicant being deported.&rdquo;</p><p>The Department of Homeland Security laid the path in a rule that took effect Monday. The rule enables eligible undocumented immigrants to receive a &ldquo;provisional unlawful presence waiver,&rdquo; known in some quarters as a PUP waiver, before leaving the United States to attend visa interviews at an American consulate in their country of origin.</p><p>To qualify for the waiver, according to the department, an applicant must be inadmissible to the United States &ldquo;only on account of unlawful presence.&rdquo; The immigrant must also show that going abroad and getting stuck there would create &ldquo;extreme hardship&rdquo; for a U.S. citizen spouse or parent.</p><p>Since 1996, the federal government generally has required visa applicants to wait 10 years outside the United States if they have spent more than a year in the country without authorization.</p><p>The administration proposed the rule last April at the urging of immigrant advocates. After receiving some 4,000 public comments about it, the department published the final version January 3.</p><p>Some immigration lawyers see the rule as a potential boon to mixed-status families.</p><p>&ldquo;We&rsquo;re cautiously optimistic that this will be one way in which families can be reunified more quickly,&rdquo; said Lisa Koop, managing attorney of the Chicago-based National Immigrant Justice Center, whose clients include many Mexican nationals. &ldquo;If you get the provisional waiver granted, you can go down to Mexico with some assurance that at least that ground of inadmissibility has been waived and you should be allowed to come back in.&rdquo;</p><p>A statement by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, the DHS agency receiving the applications,&nbsp;says it &ldquo;does not envision&rdquo; placing PUP waiver applicants in removal proceedings. But&nbsp;the Obama administration has made no promise that information gleaned from applications&nbsp;will not lead to any deportations.</p><p>Chicago immigration attorney Kevin Dixler sees other risks. He said PUP waivers would not ensure that immigrants could return to the United States&nbsp;if they had committed certain crimes in this country or &ldquo;falsely represented themselves to get a job.&rdquo;</p><p>Berg says he is advising clients to explore other options, including applying for work papers and a deportation reprieve under Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, a policy the Obama administration initiated last year. &ldquo;DACA is safer, quicker and less expensive, and leads to work papers without leaving the country,&rdquo; Berg said.</p><p>DACA has its own downsides for applicants, Koop pointed out. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s not permanent,&rdquo; she said. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s a quasi-legal status that they&rsquo;re in for two years. Whereas, if they go through consular processing, when they come back into the United States they&rsquo;re lawful permanent residents, which means they have their green card and, in [a few] years, will be eligible to apply for citizenship.&rdquo;</p><p>Among other qualifications for the PUP waiver, an immigrant must be at least 17 years old, must be physically present in the United States, and must not be in deportation proceedings.</p><p><em>Follow <a href="http://www.wbez.org/users/cmitchell-0">Chip Mitchell</a> on <a href="https://twitter.com/ChipMitchell1">Twitter</a>, <a href="https://www.facebook.com/chipmitchell1">Facebook</a> and <a href="http://www.linkedin.com/in/ChipMitchell1">LinkedIn</a>.</em></p></p> Mon, 04 Mar 2013 18:26:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/attorneys-steer-undocumented-clients-away-citizenship-path-105891 U.S. rule to help thousands of Illinois immigrants http://www.wbez.org/news/immigration/us-rule-help-thousands-illinois-immigrants-104663 <p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Janet_Napolitano_cropscale.jpg" style="margin: 4px 0px 0px 0px; float: left; height: 212px; width: 300px;" title="Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano announced the change, which will shorten the path to lawful status for some foreign nationals who lack documents to be in the United States. (AP/file)" />In the name of family unity, the path to lawful status is about to get shorter for some immigrants who are in the United States illegally &mdash; including thousands of Illinois residents.</p><p>A rule that Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano announced Wednesday helps those who can show that separation from an immediate relative who is a U.S. citizen would create &ldquo;extreme hardship.&rdquo; Starting March 4, the immigrants can apply for a U.S. visa without risking a long wait outside the country.</p><p>Since 1996, the federal government generally has required visa applicants to wait 10 years outside the United States if they have spent more than a year in the country without authorization.</p><p>President Obama&rsquo;s administration says it received more than 4,000 public comments about the rule after proposing it last April.</p><p>&ldquo;This final rule facilitates the legal immigration process and reduces the amount of time that U.S. citizens are separated from their immediate relatives who are in the process of obtaining an immigrant visa,&rdquo; Napolitano said in a statement.</p><p>Immigrant advocates applauded the change.</p><p>Fred Tsao, policy director of the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, pointed out that the applicants would still need to leave the country to get the visa. &ldquo;But they could [return] to the United States in a matter of weeks as opposed to years,&rdquo; said Tsao, who helped gather comments supporting the rule.</p><p>Asked whether the rule would amount to a pardon for living in the United States without authorization, Tsao pointed to existing law: &ldquo;People who are married to &mdash; or parents of, or children of &mdash; U.S. citizens already qualify for lawful status.&rdquo;</p><p>To qualify under the rule, according to a Department of Homeland Security statement, an applicant must be inadmissible to the United States &ldquo;only on account of unlawful presence&rdquo; and must demonstrate that getting stuck outside the country would lead to &ldquo;extreme hardship to his or her U.S. citizen spouse or parent.&rdquo;</p><p>The Obama administration, without Congress, has recently helped other immigrants who are in the United States illegally. Under a program initiated last year, thousands who were brought to the country as children have received work papers and a deportation reprieve.</p></p> Thu, 03 Jan 2013 00:51:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/immigration/us-rule-help-thousands-illinois-immigrants-104663 Driver licenses for undocumented youths? http://www.wbez.org/news/driver-licenses-undocumented-youths-101986 <p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/immigrant%20map.jpg" style="margin: 4px 0px 0px 0px; float: left; height: 369px; width: 600px; " title="WBEZ asked eight states whether they are planning to provide driver’s licenses to immigrants who receive Social Security and employment-authorization cards as a result of President Barack Obama’s “Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals” policy. (WBEZ map by Elliott Ramos)" /></p><p>Illinois, Indiana, Michigan and Ohio are planning to provide driver&rsquo;s licenses to undocumented immigrants who get work papers under a new federal policy.</p><p>The Obama administration policy, called &ldquo;Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals,&rdquo; will allow as many as 1.7 million illegal immigrants brought to the United States as children to get Social Security and employment-authorization cards, along with a deportation reprieve. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services began accepting applications Aug. 15.</p><p>&ldquo;As long as the Social Security Administration issues an individual with a Social Security number, and they have the other documents that are required under Illinois law, then they can apply for a driver&rsquo;s license,&rdquo; said Henry Haupt, spokesman for Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White, who oversees that state&rsquo;s driver licensing.</p><p>WBEZ surveyed eight Midwestern states about their response to the policy change. Along with the four states planning to provide licenses, Wisconsin and Iowa officials said they had not decided yet, while Minnesota and Missouri officials did not respond to numerous WBEZ inquiries.</p><p>The states planning to issue the driver&rsquo;s licenses differ from Arizona, Nebraska and Texas, where governors have vowed to block illegal immigrants from getting licenses.</p><p>The immigrants must meet several requirements to get the Social Security and work-authorization cards, including having been younger than 31 on June 15; having arrived in the U.S. before turning 16; having lived in the country continuously since June 2007; being a student or graduate, or having served in the military; and having no serious criminal record nor posing any public safety threat. The work authorization will last up to two years and, if the federal policy stays in place, be renewable. The policy does not provide a path to citizenship.</p><p>Assuming some of the immigrants have been driving illegally, states that enable them to get a license could make roads safer. &ldquo;They have to pass the road exam, they have to pass the written exam, and they pass the vision test,&rdquo; Haupt said about Illinois. &ldquo;We require so many different things of our young drivers and &mdash; by doing so &mdash; they, of course, become better drivers.&rdquo;</p><p>Illinois also requires proof of liability insurance on the car the driver uses for the road test. So it&rsquo;s possible that allowing undocumented immigrants to drive legally could reduce the number of uninsured vehicles.</p><p>The immigrants themselves have more at stake. Karen Siciliano Lucas, an advocacy attorney of the Washington-based Catholic Legal Immigration Network Inc., points out that driver&rsquo;s licenses are vital for working and attending school in most regions of the country. &ldquo;Not only that, it is a state-issued identification that shows who you are,&rdquo; she said.</p><p>The issue is complicated because most states require driver&rsquo;s&nbsp;license applicants to prove &ldquo;lawful status&rdquo; or &ldquo;legal presence&rdquo; in the United States. Officials in some states say the work authorization under the Obama policy will be sufficient proof. But a USCIS statement says the policy &ldquo;does not confer lawful status upon an individual.&rdquo; It&rsquo;s unclear whether courts will enable states to define lawful status differently than the federal government does.</p><p>States expecting Obama administration guidance about the driver&rsquo;s licenses could be waiting awhile. In response to WBEZ questions, the Department of Homeland Security sent a statement saying the department does not comment on state-specific matters.</p><p>Until federal courts weigh in, states are likely to face lawsuits no matter their course. &ldquo;We will see battles on this,&rdquo; Lucas predicted.</p><p>Making matters more complicated is the federal Real ID Act, a 2005 law aimed at fighting identity theft and keeping terrorists out of federal buildings and airplanes. Among other things, the act requires states to verify that driver&rsquo;s license applicants have lawful status in the United States.</p><p>The law is set to take effect in January, but it&rsquo;s not clear how the Obama administration will enforce it. DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano has fought for the measure&rsquo;s repeal, calling it unworkable.</p><p>That irks advocates for tougher immigration enforcement: &ldquo;If you want to protect against identify theft, you&rsquo;ve got to eliminate the fraud,&rdquo; said Janice Kephart, who focuses on national security policies for the Washington-based Center for Immigration Studies. &ldquo;That means you have to eliminate the illegal-alien community out of that scheme. It doesn&rsquo;t mean that states cannot give driver&rsquo;s licenses to illegal aliens. It just means that they have to do it outside the Real ID Act.&rdquo;</p><p>Kephart praised Utah, which has created a &ldquo;driving privilege card&rdquo; specifically for undocumented immigrants.</p><p>At the moment the only other states that let undocumented immigrants drive legally are New Mexico and Washington, which provide them the same licenses that U.S. citizens can get.</p></p> Mon, 27 Aug 2012 13:19:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/driver-licenses-undocumented-youths-101986 Young immigrants line up to apply for deportation reprieve http://www.wbez.org/news/young-immigrants-line-apply-deportation-reprieve-101734 <p><p> <div id="PictoBrowser120816122822">Get the flash player here: http://www.adobe.com/flashplayer</div><script type="text/javascript" src="http://www.db798.com/pictobrowser/swfobject.js"></script><script type="text/javascript"> var so = new SWFObject("http://www.db798.com/pictobrowser.swf", "PictoBrowser", "500", "500", "8", "#EEEEEE"); so.addVariable("source", "sets"); so.addVariable("names", "Young immigrants line up to apply for deportation reprieve"); so.addVariable("userName", "chicagopublicmedia"); so.addVariable("userId", "33876038@N00"); so.addVariable("ids", "72157631082359162"); so.addVariable("titles", "off"); so.addVariable("displayNotes", "always"); so.addVariable("thumbAutoHide", "on"); so.addVariable("imageSize", "medium"); so.addVariable("vAlign", "mid"); so.addVariable("vertOffset", "0"); so.addVariable("colorHexVar", "EEEEEE"); so.addVariable("initialScale", "on"); so.addVariable("bgAlpha", "80"); so.write("PictoBrowser120816122822"); </script> </p><p>Thousands of young undocumented immigrants lined up Wednesday at Chicago&rsquo;s Navy Pier for help with paperwork as the U.S. Department of Homeland Security began taking applications for deportation deferrals and work permits under a new policy initiated by President Barack Obama.</p><p>The turnout led the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, which organized the event, to begin turning immigrants away in the morning.</p><p>The policy, called Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, allows undocumented immigrants who had not turned 31 by June 15 to temporarily live and work in the United States.</p><p>Elizabeth Espinosa, a Chicago resident who arrived at Navy Pier hours before the event&#39;s 9 a.m. start time, said she was applying so she could attend college to become a registered nurse.</p><p>&ldquo;It means not just equality, but ... a better hope for us and our future children,&rdquo; Espinosa said. &ldquo;It means so much more than just a piece of paper. It means our whole lives.&rdquo;</p><p>Cristián García of Mundelein said he wanted the deportation reprieve and employment authorization so he could work as a computer technician. He also said he wanted his family to gain some peace of mind.</p><p>&ldquo;Sometimes, because we don&rsquo;t have documents and we&rsquo;re not legal we don&rsquo;t feel secure and we don&rsquo;t have the same opportunities to study,&rdquo; García said.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><a href="http://www.wbez.org/line-dreamrelief-day-navy-pier-chicago-126-seconds-101746" target="_blank"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Image1_1.jpg" style="float: right;" title="The line to apply deferred-action, in 126 seconds." /></a>Applicants must prove they arrived in the United States before turning 16 and that they have lived in the country continuously for five years. They also must be a student or graduate or have served in the military, among other requirements.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Republicans have called the policy an election-year maneuver that bypasses Congress and favors illegal immigrants over U.S. citizens. They also point to the fact that legislation known as the Dream Act, which would have provided a path to citizenship for many of the youths that are now applying for deferred-action, failed in the U.S. Congress.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Prominent Illinois Republicans &mdash; including U.S. Reps. Judy Biggert (R-13th), Aaron Schock (R-18th), Randy Hultgren (R-14th), Adam Kinzinger (R-11th) and Peter Roskam (R-6th) &mdash; did not make themselves available for comment.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Mitt Romney &mdash; the party&rsquo;s presumed presidential nominee &mdash; has talked about vetoing the Dream Act if it were ever passed and has suggested pushing undocumented immigrants, as he puts it, to &ldquo;self-deport.&rdquo; Romney has not promised to keep Obama&rsquo;s deferred-action policy in place.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">The election and its possible impact on the deferred-action policy has Chicago immigration attorney Robert Cotter calling Wednesday&#39;s Navy Pier event &ldquo;reckless.&rdquo; He adds that the immigrants ought to wait to submit the paperwork until they see who wins November&rsquo;s election.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&ldquo;We could have a new president,&quot; Cotter said. &ldquo;That new president could undo what&rsquo;s been done in one day. One signature could undo everything. So I&rsquo;m counseling my clients, &lsquo;Look, you survived this far. If you can wait another 10 - 11 weeks, you&rsquo;re going to be a lot more certain that you&rsquo;re really going to get that work permit and that you&rsquo;re not going to get a notice to appear in immigration court.&rsquo;&rdquo;</div><p><img a="" achieve="" afford="" all="" alt="" be="" because="" become="" can="" class="image-original_image" correct="" enough="" finally="" get="" i="" is="" job="" my="" not="" paperwork="" pray="" said.="" school="" she="" so="" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/RS6169__PHO4197sm.jpg" style="height: 264px; width: 175px; margin: 5px; float: left; " the="" this="" time="" title="Yulizma Mendoza, 27, arrived at 2:30am to wait for a workshop on preparing her application for deferred deportation at Chicago's Navy Pier on Wednesday, August 15, 2012. (WBEZ/Peter Holderness) " to="" two="" want="" will="" years="" />This sentiment didn&rsquo;t sit well with U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), one of the principal sponsors of the Dream Act. The senator attended Wednesday&rsquo;s event and gestured to hundreds of young people filling out their applicants in the ballroom, saying it will be politically unfeasible to reverse this policy.</p><p>&ldquo;I will tell you the force that they are creating is a moral force here, beyond a legal force,&rdquo; Durbin said. &ldquo;It is a moral force that, I believe, that as the American people support this 2 to 1, that&rsquo;s what the polls tell us. They will support these young people being protected. If someone later comes along and tries to exploit the fact that they did the right thing, they did what they were told legally.&rdquo;</p><p>Congressman Luis Gutierrez (D-4th) said the scene at Chicago&#39;s&nbsp;Navy&nbsp;Pier&nbsp;resembled Ellis Island.</p><p>Immigrant advocates and others cautioned that the applications for deferred-action include all sorts of things &mdash; fingerprints, information about family members &mdash; that would be useful for deporting people.</p><p>The Department of Homeland Security says it won&rsquo;t use such information for enforcement unless there&rsquo;s evidence of criminal activity.</p></p> Wed, 15 Aug 2012 09:05:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/young-immigrants-line-apply-deportation-reprieve-101734 Cook County’s disregard of ICE detainers catches on http://www.wbez.org/news/cook-county%E2%80%99s-disregard-ice-detainers-catches-100818 <p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/SecureCommunitiesRallyNYCscale.jpg" style="margin: 4px 0px 0px 0px; float: left; height: 375px; width: 250px; " title="Diana Mejia of Madison, N.J., prays during a 2011 rally in New York City to condemn Secure Communities, a U.S. Immigration Customs Enforcement program that relies on jail compliance with agency requests known as detainers. (AP file/Mary Altaffer)" />A Cook County policy of disregarding immigration detainers is catching on. Lawmakers in other parts of the country, most recently the District of Columbia on Tuesday, have approved bills modeled after the policy.</p><p>Some Republicans are pressing President Barack Obama&rsquo;s administration to take reprisals against those jurisdictions. In a hearing Tuesday, the chairwoman of a U.S. House homeland security panel urged Immigration and Customs Enforcement Director John Morton to punish Cook County for its stand.</p><p>The detainers &mdash; ICE requests that local jails hold specified individuals up to two business days beyond what their criminal cases require &mdash; help put the inmates into deportation proceedings. Jail compliance with detainers is a key part of Secure Communities, a program that has helped the Obama administration shift immigration enforcement toward criminals.</p><p>Cook County officials say detainers also erode community trust in local police. Last September, the County Board approved an ordinance that halted detainer compliance by the county&rsquo;s massive jail. ICE abruptly lost convenient access to hundreds of immigration violators each year.</p><p>&ldquo;The Cook County legislation was very critical and a part of the development for the legislation in the District of Columbia,&rdquo; said Ron Hampton, a retired Metropolitan Police officer in the nation&rsquo;s capital who has pushed the D.C. bill.</p><p>Hampton pointed to a legal opinion that supporters of the Cook County measure obtained from State&rsquo;s Attorney Anita Alvarez&rsquo;s office last year. That opinion, citing a federal court ruling in Indiana, called detainer compliance voluntary and helped convince the Cook County Board to approve the ordinance. Hampton said the opinion added weight to what he called &ldquo;a model piece of legislation.&rdquo;</p><p>Since the Cook County ordinance passed, New York City, the state of Connecticut and the California county of Santa Clara have also curtailed their compliance with immigration detainers.</p><p>On July 5, the California Senate approved similar legislation that would affect the entire state. That bill is expected to pass the state Assembly. Gov. Jerry Brown has not indicated whether he would sign it into law.</p><p>At the U.S. House hearing, Rep. Candice Miller (R-Michigan) said Secure Communities had &ldquo;excellent buy-in&rdquo; from jurisdictions across the nation. Miller, chairwoman of the Homeland Security Subcommittee on Border and Maritime Security, called Cook County &ldquo;the big holdout&rdquo; and asked Morton about it.</p><p>Morton repeated an administration claim that Cook County&rsquo;s disregard of ICE detainers compromised public safety. That claim was the subject of a <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/ice-detainers-public-safety-issue-99190">WBEZ investigation</a> completed in May. Inmates freed as a result of the ordinance, the investigation found, have not reoffended or jumped bail more than other former inmates have.</p><p>Morton also told the subcommittee about letters he had written to Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle to spell out his concerns. &ldquo;We have been working with the county to see if there isn&rsquo;t some solution,&rdquo; Morton said. &ldquo;I won&rsquo;t sugarcoat it. I don&rsquo;t think that that approach is going to work in full. We&rsquo;re going to need the help of others. We have been exploring our options under federal law with the Department of Justice.&rdquo;</p><p>Morton said he would also push for a cutoff of some federal funds for the county&rsquo;s jail.</p><p>That vow won praise from Miller. &ldquo;I can&rsquo;t tell you how delighted I am,&rdquo; she said. &ldquo;If they&rsquo;re not going to assist us in removing not only criminal aliens but those that might go on to commit a terrorist attack or what-have-you, because they want to have their city become a sanctuary, the federal government cannot stand by idly and allow that to happen.&rdquo;</p><p>As other jurisdictions adopt the Cook County approach, some enforcement advocates are calling for a tougher federal response.</p><p>Ira Mehlman, spokesman of the Washington-based Federation for American Immigration Reform, points out that the Obama administration has sued states such as Arizona and Alabama for taking immigration enforcement into their own hands</p><p>&ldquo;Yet, when it comes to jurisdictions that have openly defied federal enforcement, then the Justice Department seems to have enormous patience and is extremely lenient,&rdquo; Mehlman said.</p></p> Wed, 11 Jul 2012 16:39:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/cook-county%E2%80%99s-disregard-ice-detainers-catches-100818 Immigration enforcement program faces novel suit http://www.wbez.org/news/immigration-enforcement-program-faces-novel-suit-100646 <p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/ColoradoFingerprinting.jpg" style="margin: 4px 0px 0px 0px; float: left; width: 214px; height: 250px; " title="A sheriff’s deputy in Centennial, Colo., prepares to fingerprint a suspect as part of booking into the Arapahoe County Justice Center. Secure Communities runs the fingerprints of everyone booked into jail against immigration records. (AP File/Chris Schneider)" />We&rsquo;ve been hearing a lot about how immigration enforcement intersects with local law enforcement. Last week, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld an Arizona requirement that police officers check the immigration status of people they stop for other reasons. Now we&rsquo;ll hear from our West Side bureau about a suburban Chicago man who got tangled up with immigration enforcement after a drug arrest. He has filed a suit that offers a novel challenge to one of President Obama&rsquo;s key immigration-enforcement programs.</p><p>MITCHELL: There&rsquo;s no doubt James Makowski of Clarendan Hills did something illegal. In 2010 police caught him with heroin and he pleaded guilty to that. A judge approved him for a state-run boot camp. But that&rsquo;s not where Makowski ended up.</p><p>MAKOWSKI: I thought I would be home in 120 days but -- then after I get a note back from a counselor, after I&rsquo;d asked about when I&rsquo;d be shipping to boot camp -- she said that I was ineligible for boot camp due to an immigration detainer.</p><p>MITCHELL: That&rsquo;s basically a flag in his file from Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the federal agency known as ICE. So . . .</p><p>MAKOWSKI: I got sent to the maximum-security penitentiary in Pontiac.</p><p>MITCHELL: And he stayed for about two months. How did this happen? It comes down to an ICE program called Secure Communities. In that program, FBI fingerprint data about people booked at local jails get run against immigration data. If a check yields a match, ICE can issue one of its detainers. The point is to catch people in the criminal justice system who are not authorized to be in the U.S. and eventually deport them. The thing is, Makowski had every right to be in the country.</p><p>MAKOWSKI: I feel like I got punished twice for what I did in my past.</p><p>MITCHELL: Makowski&rsquo;s detention was based on faulty information. He was born in India and adopted by a U.S. family. When he was 1, the government granted him citizenship. But &mdash; at age 22, when he got picked up on the heroin charge &mdash; the feds didn&rsquo;t have their records right. So, Makowski stayed in that maximum-security pen before authorities straightened things out and let him into the boot camp. On Tuesday, Makowski filed a federal suit over all this. Defendants include top officials at the FBI, ICE and their parent departments. Makowski claims that when the FBI shared data with ICE &mdash; and when ICE didn&rsquo;t keep track of his citizenship status &mdash; they violated his rights under the U.S. Privacy Act. Legal experts say the suit appears to be the first challenge to Secure Communities under that law. Makowski&rsquo;s attorneys include Mark Fleming of the Chicago-based National Immigrant Justice Center.</p><p>FLEMING: There [are] simple ways in which both the FBI and ICE could be in compliance with the Privacy Act.</p><p>MITCHELL: Fleming says ICE could, for example, interview suspected immigration violators before slapping detainers on them.</p><p>FLEMING: Unfortunately, the system does not provide those basic checks right now and, so, there are many more U.S. citizens that are getting wrapped up into this.</p><p>MITCHELL: Officials at ICE and the departments of Justice and Homeland Security did not answer our questions about the suit Tuesday (see&nbsp;<a href="#note">UPDATE</a>). An FBI spokesman said his agency does not comment about pending litigation outside the courtroom. But a supporter of tougher immigration controls doubts that the Privacy Act protects U.S. citizens from what Makowski endured. Jessica Vaughan directs policy studies for a Washington group called the Center for Immigration Studies. Vaughan says the FBI and ICE share the fingerprint information for legitimate law-enforcement purposes.</p><p>VAUGHAN: Mistakes can be made. But that is not necessarily a reason to throw out the whole system.</p><p>MITCHELL: Vaughan says it&rsquo;s important to keep something else in mind.</p><p><a name="note"></a></p><p>VAUGHAN: The individual who&rsquo;s filing this suit would not have had anything to worry about had he not been convicted of a serious crime to begin with. He was convicted of a drug crime.</p><p>MITCHELL: Convicted he was. But Makowski says no one should have to serve extra time behind bars because of errors in immigration records.</p><p><em>After a deadline for Tuesday&rsquo;s broadcast of this story, ICE provided this statement: &ldquo;The information-sharing partnership between the Department of Homeland Security and the FBI serves as the cornerstone of Secure Communities, and fulfills a mandate required by federal law. This information sharing does not violate the Privacy Act. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is evaluating the allegations contained in the lawsuit; however, we do not comment on pending litigation.&rdquo;</em></p><p><em>The ICE statement continues: &ldquo;In December ICE announced a new detainer form and the launch of a toll-free hotline &mdash; (855) 448-6903 &mdash; that detained individuals can call if they believe they may be U.S. citizens or victims of a crime. The hotline is staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week, by ICE personnel at the Law Enforcement Support Center. Translation services are available in several languages from 7 a.m. until midnight (Eastern), seven days a week. ICE personnel collect information from the individual and refer it to the relevant ICE Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) Field Office for immediate action.&rdquo;</em><br />&nbsp;</p></p> Wed, 04 Jul 2012 10:16:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/immigration-enforcement-program-faces-novel-suit-100646 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 ICE nabs 29 in Chicago-area sweep for gang members http://www.wbez.org/news/ice-nabs-29-chicago-area-sweep-gang-members-98557 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/ICE_1.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement is talking up 29 Chicago-area arrests that were part of a national operation targeting transnational gangs.</p><p>Gary Hartwig, special agent in charge of ICE’s Chicago-area Homeland Security Investigations, said the operation began April 9 and lasted three days. He said police in Wheeling, Waukegan, Joliet and Elgin took part.</p><p>“I don’t have the time and resources to just go round up everybody who happens to be in the country illegally,” Hartwig said. “Our job is to focus our resources on criminal gangs and criminal organizations — in this case, transnational gangs — who are operating in our communities and making our streets unsafe.”</p><p>As a result of the Chicago-area arrests, ICE says, a 26-year-old U.S. citizen and two foreign nationals face criminal charges. Officials say the other 26 detainees are in deportation proceedings.</p><p>An ICE statement says the operation, dubbed Project Nefarious, led to more than 600 arrrests nationwide. The statement says the operation spanned 150 U.S. cities and reached Honduras. The operation’s impetus, the agency adds, was a 2011 federal report that identified gangs tied to human smuggling and trafficking.</p><p>The victims of those crimes include foreign nationals in the United States, but some immigrant advocates are withholding praise for the operation.</p><p>“We support ICE’s efforts to target criminal enterprises rather than immigrants whose only crime is working to support their families,” said Chuck Roth, litigation director of the Chicago-based National Immigrant Justice Center. “But past ICE actions have usually turned out to involve more arrests of bystanders and family members than of individuals actively engaged in wrongdoing.”</p></p> Wed, 25 Apr 2012 09:17:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/ice-nabs-29-chicago-area-sweep-gang-members-98557