WBEZ | Gail Montenegro http://www.wbez.org/tags/gail-montenegro Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Cook County Board could vote on freeing inmates wanted by immigration authorities http://www.wbez.org/story/cook-county-commissioners-could-vote-next-week-releasing-some-jailed-immigrants-91496 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-September/2011-09-03/Toni Preckwinkle.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Cook County commissioners on Wednesday could take center stage in the nation’s immigration debate if they enact a proposal that would begin freeing some jail inmates wanted by federal authorities.</p><p>The measure requires the sheriff to decline Immigration and Customs Enforcement requests known as detainers “unless there is a written agreement with the federal government by which all costs incurred” by the county are reimbursed.</p><p>County Board Commissioner Jesús García, D-Chicago, introduced a similar proposal in July but quickly withdrew it, saying it needed rethinking. García has refined the measure and picked up nine other sponsors, including Board President Toni Preckwinkle.</p><p>The inmates remain in the county’s massive jail up to 48 hours beyond what their criminal cases require. ICE detainers enabled the federal agency to take custody of 1,665 of the jail’s inmates in 2010, according to Sheriff Tom Dart.</p><p>Dart’s office says complying with the detainers last year cost roughly $250,000.</p><p>An ICE statement calls the detainers “critical” for deporting “criminal aliens and others who have no legal right to remain in the United States.”</p><p>But García says the holds enable ICE to sweep up too many immigrants who pose little or no risk to public safety. “These people have been cleared of charges or have posted bond,” he says.</p><p>García says the detainers also cost taxpayers too much and spread fear of local police — claims disputed by pro-enforcement groups such as the Federation for American Immigration Reform.</p><p>ICE didn’t immediately comment on the revamped proposal but sent a statement warning that “jurisdictions that ignore detainers bear the risk of possible public safety risks.”</p><p>The federal government does not reimburse any local jurisdiction in the country for costs associated with the immigration detainers, according to ICE spokeswoman Gail Montenegro.</p><p>Commissioners could approve the proposal at their meeting Wednesday morning. It would take effect “immediately upon adoption,” the measure says.</p><p>“As far as I know, Cook County would be the first local jurisdiction in the country to quit complying with ICE detainer requests,” says Chris Newman, legal director of the Los Angeles-based National Day Laborer Organizing Network, a group that leads opposition to the holds.</p><p>The proposal comes as a class-action suit in federal court challenges use of the detainers. Filed by the Chicago-based National Immigrant Justice Center, the suit charges that asking local police to detain immigrants when there is no evidence of illegal activity is unconstitutional.<br> &nbsp;</p><p><em>Correction: An earlier version of this story misstated what Sheriff Tom Dart’s office estimates that its ICE detainer compliance costs the county. A sheriff’s spokesman says the cost last year was roughly $250,000.</em></p></p> Fri, 02 Sep 2011 23:02:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/cook-county-commissioners-could-vote-next-week-releasing-some-jailed-immigrants-91496 Alleged genocide leader deported from Chicago http://www.wbez.org/story/news/criminal-justice/alleged-genocide-leader-deported-chicago <p><p>U.S. Immigration officials have deported a Romeoville man who is wanted in Rwanda for crimes against humanity. Jean-Marie Vianney Mudahinyuka was flown back to Kigali last week, after serving a 51-month term in federal prison for immigration fraud and assaulting a federal immigration officer when he was arrested in 2004.</p> <div>Mudahinyuka came to the U.S. in 2000 under the alias &ldquo;Thierry Rugamba,&rdquo; claiming to be a victim of Rwanda&rsquo;s 1994 genocide. Gail Montenegro, spokesman for Immigration and Customs Enforcement in Chicago, said federal officials were tipped off by other resettled Rwandans in the community after he began working at an African grocery store in Bolingbrook, Ill. &nbsp;&ldquo;A witness recognized him as someone who was known by a different name in Rwanda,&rdquo; said Montenegro.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>Mudahinyuka is wanted in Rwanda for allegedly leading a Hutu militia, which is believed to have killed hundreds of thousands of people. U.S. prosecutors were tasked with proving that Mudahinyuka&rsquo;s true identity was not what he claimed it to be &ndash; a challenging task, according to Assistant U.S. Attorney Juliet Sorensen. &ldquo;We were looking for witnesses and identification documents from a country that had been decimated by the genocide,&rdquo; said Sorensen. Ultimately, Mudahinyuka pleaded guilty to the U.S charges.&nbsp;</div></p> Tue, 01 Feb 2011 23:30:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/news/criminal-justice/alleged-genocide-leader-deported-chicago