WBEZ | ice http://www.wbez.org/tags/ice 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 Deportation protesters use ‘lockboxes,’ slam Durbin http://www.wbez.org/news/deportation-protesters-use-%E2%80%98lockboxes%E2%80%99-slam-durbin-107166 <p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Stephanie%20Camba%201%20scale.jpg" title="Stephanie Camba, right, and six other unauthorized immigrants on Tuesday block a street near a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement detention center in Broadview, a suburb of Chicago. (WBEZ/Chip Mitchell)" /></p><p>Police sawed through plastic pipes on Tuesday&nbsp;to pry apart seven protesters at an immigration detention center near Chicago. The protesters, all in the United States without legal permission, demanded a halt to deportations as Congress considers allowing most of the country&rsquo;s 11 million unauthorized immigrants to apply for legal status.</p><p>President Barack Obama&rsquo;s administration has increased deportations to roughly 1,100 a day, a record pace. Removals have continued as the Senate Judiciary Committee works on a sweeping immigration bill drafted by a bipartisan group that includes Dick Durbin (D-Illinois). The protesters called on Durbin to push Obama to suspend the removals.</p><p>&ldquo;We&rsquo;ve had over a million families separated because of deportations,&rdquo; said protester Stephanie Camba, 22, a Filipina who said her parents brought her to the United States when she was 11 years old. &ldquo;This bill is not enough if it&rsquo;s not going to stop deportations. It should be deportations being stopped first.&rdquo;</p><p>The protesters, backed by about 100 supporters, held each other using chains and locks inside three-foot segments of polyvinyl chloride tubes &mdash; civil-disobedience setups knowns as &ldquo;lockboxes.&rdquo; The protesters sat down in a street to block vehicles from the center, a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement facility in suburban Broadview.</p><p>ICE holds immigrants awaiting deportation in the center before loading them into vans and buses that carry them to flights from Chicago&rsquo;s O&rsquo;Hare International Airport.</p><p>A statement from Durbin&rsquo;s office in response to the protest says the senator was &ldquo;instrumental in pushing the administration&rdquo; to allow many young unauthorized immigrants to apply for work papers and a deportation reprieve under Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, an Obama policy initiated last year.</p><p>Durbin, the statement adds, is also working on the immigration bill as a member of the Senate panel. &ldquo;The hope is that next month the full Senate will begin debate on this common-sense, compromise proposal that will provide millions of immigrants with an accountable path to citizenship,&rdquo; the statement says.</p><p>After police cut through the pipes, Broadview officers arrested the protesters, charged them with disorderly conduct and released them.</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, 14 May 2013 18:25:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/deportation-protesters-use-%E2%80%98lockboxes%E2%80%99-slam-durbin-107166 What qualifications do you need to be a professional Zamboni driver? http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/what-qualifications-do-you-need-be-professional-zamboni-driver-106807 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/Zamboni_Key.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F89355976" width="100%"></iframe></p><p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/GabVwPO0Zos" width="560"></iframe></p><p>Tug Gillingham of Bridgeport wanted to know:</p><div style="text-align: center;"><em>&ldquo;What qualifications do you need to be professional Zamboni driver?&rdquo;</em></div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Our search for the answer led us into the chilly depths of Chicago&rsquo;s United Center to meet head ice technician Dan Ahearn. He&#39;s called &ldquo;The God of Ice in the Midwest&rdquo; by a fellow Zamboni driver. Ahearn&rsquo;s certainly earned the nickname. He&rsquo;s been behind the wheel of a Zamboni for the 31 years.&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Resurfacing ice is the technical term used to describe what Ahearn actually does on his Zamboni: the shaving, cleaning and smoothing of the surface of an ice rink. The Zamboni and other machines that do this are all known as ice resurfacing machines. But since Zamboni was the original, the brand name is often adopted to describe any and all ice resurfacing machines. (It&rsquo;s become what Xerox is to copy machines or Kleenex is to facial tissue.) &nbsp;Dan Ahearn says there&rsquo;s a good reason for that.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&ldquo;Zamboni&#39;s the best,&quot; he said. &quot;They&rsquo;ve been building them the longest. The other ones are copies off them, to an extent. There&rsquo;s a company, Olympia, that makes machines. A couple companies in Europe makes machines. But Zamboni probably has 75 percent of the market... Just in the Chicago area, there&rsquo;s 60 rinks and probably 50 of them have Zambonis.&rdquo;&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>While the Zamboni Company wouldn&#39;t confirm that number for WBEZ, it did say that, &ldquo;the Zamboni Company sells more machines annually than [their] competitors combined. [And] it would be safe to say that [they] have the majority of the market share.&rdquo;&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>You might be surprised to learn that operating a Zamboni requires no special license or certification, according to Ahearn, who also works as a welder and mechanic at the United Center. He said that most ice rinks that need a driver will likely show you everything you need to know.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>But after talking with him, it was clear that a little bravery and an enthusiasm for winter sports are probably a plus for landing the job. Or, in Ahearn&rsquo;s case, a lot of both.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>When he was 12, he was refereeing a hockey game for younger kids. The guy who was supposed to resurface the ice that day never showed up. All Ahearn had done up to that point was park the machine.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&ldquo;[So I think to myself], well the guy&rsquo;s not there, and I drive the thing, so I can probably figure this out,&rdquo; Ahearn said. &ldquo;That&rsquo;s the first time I ever did it - missed a lot of spots, but the ice got done.&rdquo;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Still can&rsquo;t get enough of Zamboni? Then check out these fun facts from the company&rsquo;s website:</div><ul><li>The machines travel an average of three miles per hockey game, which makes sense if you think each resurfacing is 3/4 of a mile. Add that up over the course of a year, and these ice makers on wheels each travel close to 2,000 miles a year.</li><li>Prior to the invention of the Zamboni machine, it took three or four workers more than an hour to resurface the ice by hand.</li><li>More than 10,000 Zamboni machines have been delivered around the world.</li><li>The machine&rsquo;s top speed is 9.7 mph, and it can go from 0 to &frac14; mile in 93.5 seconds. That&rsquo;s according to an April 2005 issue of Road &amp; Track magazine, which performed an actual road test.</li></ul><div id="PictoBrowser130424100446">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", "620", "480", "8", "#EEEEEE"); so.addVariable("source", "sets"); so.addVariable("names", "Curious City: Zambonis"); so.addVariable("userName", "chicagopublicmedia"); so.addVariable("userId", "33876038@N00"); so.addVariable("ids", "72157633319536814"); so.addVariable("titles", "on"); so.addVariable("displayNotes", "on"); so.addVariable("thumbAutoHide", "off"); so.addVariable("imageSize", "medium"); so.addVariable("vAlign", "mid"); so.addVariable("vertOffset", "0"); so.addVariable("colorHexVar", "EEEEEE"); so.addVariable("initialScale", "off"); so.addVariable("bgAlpha", "90"); so.write("PictoBrowser130424100446"); </script><div><span id="cke_bm_207S" style="display: none;">&nbsp;</span><span id="cke_bm_208S" style="display: none;">&nbsp;</span><span id="cke_bm_209S" style="display: none;">&nbsp;</span></div><div><em>Anthony Martinez is a multimedia producer living in Chicago. Follow him on <a href="http://www.acmmedia.tumblr.com" target="_blank">Tumblr.</a><span id="cke_bm_208E" style="display: none;">&nbsp;</span><span id="cke_bm_207E" style="display: none;">&nbsp;</span> <span id="cke_bm_209E" style="display: none;">&nbsp;</span></em></div><div>&nbsp;</div></p> Tue, 23 Apr 2013 18:16:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/what-qualifications-do-you-need-be-professional-zamboni-driver-106807 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 Biggert, Foster sidestep immigrant detention-center project http://www.wbez.org/news/biggert-foster-sidestep-joliet-immigrant-detention-center-project-103508 <p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Elisa_Chombo_CROP.jpg" style="margin: 4px 0px 0px 0px; float: left; height: 360px; width: 250px; " title="Elisa Chombo of Joliet signs a petition against the detention center at a Monday night forum. (WBEZ/Chip Mitchell)" />U.S. Rep. Judy Biggert and her Democratic challenger, Bill Foster, are locking horns in one of the nation&rsquo;s most competitive House races, but both are trying to sidestep a brewing controversy over something President Barack Obama&rsquo;s administration is talking about bringing to the district: a privately run immigrant detention center.</p><p>The project came to light last week when an official of Joliet, a city 40 miles southwest of Chicago, said he had had talks with federal officials and Tennessee-based Corrections Corporation of America. The Joliet official, City Manager Thomas Thanas, said the detention center could generate hundreds of jobs and city revenue.</p><p>The project is not going over well with Latino groups that organized a candidate forum Monday night at Our Lady of Mount Carmel, a Joliet church. The forum&rsquo;s moderator tried to ask the 11th Congressional District candidates whether they would help fight the project.</p><p>The response from Foster, a former U.S. representative, elicited nods from the roughly 200 audience members at points. &ldquo;For-profit incarceration is something that I am personally quite leery of,&rdquo; Foster said. &ldquo;We have an immigration system that depends way too heavily on incarceration and deportation.&rdquo;</p><p>But Foster said it was too early for him to make a decision about the detention center. &ldquo;I want to see the details of it,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;So the answer is, I&rsquo;m waiting and seeing.&rdquo;</p><p>Biggert, the race&rsquo;s Republican, did not attend the forum. She sent a spokesman, who read a campaign statement that did not answer the moderator&rsquo;s question. &ldquo;Congresswoman Biggert would strongly oppose the federal government coming in and mandating what Joliet should or should not do,&rdquo; the spokesman told the crowd. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s really, ultimately, Joliet&rsquo;s decision.&rdquo;</p><p>Hours before the forum, WBEZ asked the Biggert campaign whether she would back a privately built and operated immigrant detention center in the district. The campaign sent the statement and did not answer the question.</p><p>Joliet&rsquo;s project follows a setback for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and CCA in south suburban Crete, where the agency wanted the company to build and run the detention center.</p><p>A political tide against the Crete project rose in January, when rivals in the area&rsquo;s Democratic House primary &mdash; U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. and his challenger, former U.S. Rep. Debbie Halvorson &mdash; both sided against it. Village trustees rejected the plan in June.</p></p> Tue, 30 Oct 2012 02:34:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/biggert-foster-sidestep-joliet-immigrant-detention-center-project-103508 Joliet detention-center talks include private prison firm http://www.wbez.org/news/joliet-detention-center-talks-include-private-prison-firm-103436 <p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/CCA_hall.jpg" style="margin: 4px 0px 0px 0px; float: left; height: 200px; width: 300px; " title="CCA owns and operates Stewart Detention Center in Lumpkin, Ga. The facility is one of many in which the company holds detainees for ICE. (AP File/Kate Brumback)" />A top Joliet official says his talks exploring possibilities for an immigrant detention center in the city have included the nation&rsquo;s largest private prison operator.</p><p>City Manager Thomas Thanas told WBEZ he had engaged in a &ldquo;preliminary conversation&rdquo; with officials of Nashville-based Corrections Corporation of America to see &ldquo;whether Joliet might be a suitable site&rdquo; for a facility that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement wants in the Chicago area.</p><p>Thanas declined to say when and where the conversation took place or what details were discussed. &ldquo;We have not reviewed plans,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;Nothing has been filed on a formal basis.&rdquo;</p><p>Joliet officials are &ldquo;not talking about any specific sites at this point,&rdquo; Thanas said. He added that &ldquo;a facility like this could not be located near a residential area, schools or a commercial district.&rdquo;</p><p>Thanas referred questions about site possibilities to CCA, whose spokesman referred inquiries to ICE, which declined to discuss the Joliet project.</p><p>The federal agency sent a statement that said building a Chicago-area detention center would help improve immigrant confinement conditions and enable &ldquo;locating detainees closer to where they are apprehended so that they can be near their families, community resources and the ICE field office.&rdquo;</p><p>What would Joliet get? &ldquo;Hundreds of construction jobs and hundreds of permanent jobs,&rdquo; Thanas said. &ldquo;I&rsquo;m always interested in projects that have an opportunity to create jobs and revenues for our school district.&rdquo;</p><p>Federal officials met with Thanas about the project October 17 in Washington, he said. &ldquo;It was a fact-gathering opportunity for both them and me.&rdquo;</p><p>Thanas also briefed some City Council members about the detention-center possibility.</p><p>But officials managed to keep the project out of public view until the Chicago Tribune revealed it late Wednesday. Within hours, some Joliet activists and the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights began organizing opposition.</p><p>&ldquo;We don&rsquo;t believe you should be making a profit off of tearing families apart because they&rsquo;re undocumented,&rdquo; said Richard Rodríguez, a Joliet resident who chairs the Mexican American Coalition of Will County. &ldquo;There should be comprehensive immigration reform. Address the issue properly.&rdquo;</p><p>Thanas replied that national immigration policy was not Joliet&rsquo;s business. &ldquo;That&rsquo;s a matter of federal concern,&rdquo; he said.</p><p>Joliet&rsquo;s nine City Council members on Thursday declined to comment or did not return messages about the project.<br /><br />The Joliet talks follow a highly publicized setback for ICE and CCA in south suburban Crete, where the agency wanted the company to build and run a 788-bed detention center. Village trustees rejected the plan June 11 after months of protests by residents, human-rights advocates and public-sector unions.</p><p>CCA had greater success in Springfield. The company lobbied against Illinois legislation that would have banned government agencies at the local and state levels from contracting with private firms to build or run civil detention centers. The bill passed the Senate in March but stalled after a series of close House floor votes May 31.</p></p> Fri, 26 Oct 2012 05:02:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/joliet-detention-center-talks-include-private-prison-firm-103436 Movie goers lack options on Chicago's South Side http://www.wbez.org/blogs/alison-cuddy/2012-10/south-side-movie-theater-chatham-14-expected-re-open-friday-103360 <p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/chatham.jpeg" style="height: 533px; width: 400px; float: left; " title="Will Chatham 14 be open this Friday? (flickr/Zol87)" />When I wanted to see <a href="http://www.nightcatchesus.com/"><em>Night Catches Us</em></a>, an independent black film released in 2011, there was only one theater in Chicago where it got a regular run: The ICE Chatham 14 on 87th Street.</p><p>But for movie-goers on Chicago&#39;s South Side, the Chatham is one of only a few options for seeing <em>any </em>film.</p><p>So you can imagine how people felt when they showed up Friday night and found a dark, shuttered theater.</p><p>The Cook County Sheriff&rsquo;s office issued an eviction notice, which was on the door of the theater, along with another sign saying the theater was &quot;temporarily closed&quot; and would re-open soon &quot;under new management.&quot;&nbsp;The Sheriff&rsquo;s office and the Cook County Circuit Clerk&rsquo;s office had no forthcoming information.</p><p>Now the theater may be re-opening. In an e-mail, owner Alisa Starks (who along with her husband Donzell opened the theater in 1997) said, &quot;It&#39;s been a challenging process. But the theater is expected to be open by Friday.&quot; Starks also said a new company will manage it.</p><p>The rift that apparently caused the original closure, a conflict between the Starks and their investor, Michael Silver, seems to have been smoothed over, at least temporarily. Starks told me, &quot;Most positively, our investor has recently committed to making needed capital improvements.&quot;</p><p>What led to the shuttering of the Chatham had been hard to sort out. In the immediate aftermath of the closing, there were various reports,&nbsp;starting with <a href="http://thesixthward.blogspot.com/2012/10/ice-theaters-evicted-from-chatham.html">this community blog</a>. A <a href="http://www.suntimes.com/news/metro/15854898-418/ice-chatham-14-theater-abruptly-shuts-its-door.html">Chicago Sun-Times</a> article claimed the Starks have a history of not paying city amusement taxes and had been to court with movie distributors. And CBS2 quoted sources saying things went sour between the Starks and Silver.</p><p>The Starks own outright their Lawndale 10 theater on Roosevelt Road and a shuttered property at 62nd and Western. At Chatham both Starks and Silver have discussed plans for digital convergence and other improvements, but those can&#39;t proceed without some sort of resolution between the partners.</p><p>There are only a few other theaters on the South Side, including the AMC Ford City 14 and the Chicago Ridge 6 to the west of Chatham, as well as the Showplace Icon in the South Loop. At the University of Chicago there&#39;s the student-run Doc Films. And when the Harper Court and 53rd Street redevelopment is complete, Hyde Park will once again have a commercial movie theater.</p><p>But the Chatham is special in other ways. When Alisa and Donzell Starks opened it in 1997, they say they were launching the first African-American owned theater chain in the United States.&nbsp;</p><p><a href="http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-04-21/minority-owned-theater-chain-ice-re-opens-location-lawndale-85490">I spoke with the Starks in 2011</a>, as they were about to re-open their ICE Lawndale movie theater. They underscored the significance of being a minority-owned theater serving a largely minority community, and providing people with easy access to mainstream movies, as well as films they might otherwise not see.</p><p>At Chatham they&nbsp;screened the latest Hollywood movies. But they also made a place for independent cinema, and for community events: hosting non-film conversations, and screening the presidential debates for free.</p><p>The Starks say they also wanted to provide locals with jobs and help with the area&#39;s overall economic development. In short, the Chatham was meant to be a place not just to see movies but also a place for community building.</p><p>Meanwhile, the community has mobilized. A number of Facebook campaigns were put together by Occupy Black Chicago and Occupy Black Media, local activists mobilizing around economic issues in minority communities.&nbsp;They see the closing of Chatham 14 in the context of a broader economic decline in parts of the city and a lack of access to community and cultural resources, particularly on the South Side.</p><p>Alisa Starks also said ICE is &quot;still contemplating&quot; a press release and statement, likely shortly after the theater re-opens this Friday.</p></p> Wed, 24 Oct 2012 11:17:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/alison-cuddy/2012-10/south-side-movie-theater-chatham-14-expected-re-open-friday-103360 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 Crete trustees reject detention center plan http://www.wbez.org/news/crete-trustees-reject-detention-center-plan-100006 <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/CreteCouple.jpg" style="margin: 4px 0px 0px 0px; float: left; width: 233px; height: 258px;" title="Village residents in April marched against the project, in which Corrections Corporation of America would have held detainees for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. (WBEZ/Charlie Billups)" /></div><p><em>Updated with reactions from ICE and an immigrant advocate June 12 at 4:47 p.m.</em></p><p>After months of rancor among its leaders and residents, a Chicago suburb has rejected a plan by the country&rsquo;s largest private prison operator to build and run an immigrant detention center.</p><p>A unanimous voice vote of Crete&rsquo;s six trustees Monday night ended village negotiations with Nashville-based Corrections Corporation of America. The vote came just hours after an unsuccessful negotiating session between Crete and CCA officials. Village President Michael Einhorn said the vote blocks the project &ldquo;as of now.&rdquo;</p><p>The decision thrilled residents who have campaigned against the plan since last fall. &ldquo;When lots of little people get together, it&rsquo;s possible that the big guns will listen,&rdquo; said Marimonica Murray, a leader of the group Concerned Citizens of Crete, which led opposition to the detention center.</p><p>Under the proposal, Crete would have contracted with CCA, which would have owned the medium-security facility and held more than 700 foreign nationals awaiting deportation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.</p><p>Crete officials say they first learned about the project from CCA in 2010. ICE announced last summer that the federal agency had &ldquo;tentatively selected&rdquo; Crete for the facility.</p><p>Village officials touted the potential for scores of permanent jobs. They also talked up expected taxes and per-detainee payments for the village.</p><p>But the proposal met stiff resistance from Crete residents worried that the detention center would drag down property values, stretch village services too thin and threaten public safety. Those residents aligned with immigrant advocates who said CCA treated its detainees and workers poorly. The company disputed those claims.</p><p>Illinois legislation that would have derailed the project sailed through the Senate in March. The bill would have banned government agencies at the local and state levels from contracting with private firms to build or run civil detention centers. A close House floor vote last month defeated the measure.</p><p>After Crete trustees turned down the planned detention center, a written statement from company spokesman Steven Owen called the outcome &ldquo;disappointing to the taxpayers, job seekers and local businesses that stood to benefit from this economic boost.&rdquo; The statement said the company &ldquo;will continue to work closely with ICE in meeting their needs in the region.&rdquo;</p><p>A statement Tuesday from President Barack Obama&rsquo;s administration says ICE will review proposals for a detention center elsewhere in the Chicago area. The statement says a facility would help improve the confinement conditions and &ldquo;allow for some consolidation of detainees closer to their place of apprehension and immigration proceedings.&rdquo;</p><p>Fred Tsao, policy director of the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, said the administration instead ought to use its Crete setback as an opportunity to allow more immigration violators to remain in their homes. &ldquo;Why is ICE keeping these thousands of people in detention at great expense to taxpayers when many of these individuals pose no threat to the community?&rdquo; Tsao asked.</p></p> Mon, 11 Jun 2012 22:24:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/crete-trustees-reject-detention-center-plan-100006