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Feds get tough with Illinois

Wednesday, Aug 10, 2011

* Illinois Statehouse News has the scoop

The federal government is requiring Illinois police to report illegal immigrants who are arrested on any charge from public intoxication to murder, in spite of Gov. Pat Quinn’s opposition.

On Friday, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, or ICE, canceled contracts with the 39 states participating in Secure Communities — a program in which local and state law enforcement officials share fingerprints with the federal government.

ICE, the investigative arm of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, or DHS, did not cancel the contracts to end the program, but rather to assert that ICE doesn’t need a state’s permission, in this case via a contract, to operate the deportation program. […]

ICE’s action came three months after Quinn ended Illinois’ timid two-year participation in Secure Communities. Since the program started in November 2009, 76 of Illinois’ 102 counties abstained from participating, the most notable being Cook County, home to Chicago.

“Illinois remains concerned that the program can have the opposite effect of its state purpose,” Brie Callahan, a spokeswoman for Quinn’s office, said. “Instead of making our communities safer, the program’s flawed implementation may divide communities (and) families.”

The federal program, created under Republican President George W. Bush, was engineered to deport illegal immigrants who’ve been convicted of a felony or at least three misdemeanors in the same year in the United States or a previous crime in their home country.

Go read the whole thing.

Please, take it easy in comments. I have a lot of stuff to do today and won’t be able to monitor the blog all the time. This topic can bring out the worst in people. Don’t let that happen. Thanks.

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- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Cincinnatus - Wednesday, Aug 10, 11 @ 8:01 am:

    Before we hear the usual, “we need comprehensive immigration reform,” (with which I agree), cohort, I ask this,

    If there is a law, is it not the responsibility of the executive, and their police arm, to enforce it? People cannot pick and choose what laws they should enforce, and should not issue edicts skirting the law (c.f. NLRB).

    Until the law is changed, we should demand compliance.

  2. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Aug 10, 11 @ 8:29 am:

    I can remember not to long ago that local and state law enforcement had to beg immigration to do their job. Unless you had 50+ illegals rounded up or one who committed a heinous felony, a call to immigration would result in the advice to just let them go. They would never come pick them up.

    All changed when the sheriff of St. Claire County went to the press about it.

  3. - lake county democrat - Wednesday, Aug 10, 11 @ 8:30 am:

    I agree with Cincy on everything but the need for comprehensive immigration reform (other than secure the border/employment check, then one final amnesty for everyone here — the status quo beats all other proposals). Democracy 101: you don’t usurp validly passed laws by annointing yourself the U.S. Congress + President and deciding to ignore them (unless you object so much that you’re willing to practice civil disobedience and suffer the consequences, which Quinn ain’t).

  4. - Small Town Liberal - Wednesday, Aug 10, 11 @ 8:35 am:

    - Until the law is changed, we should demand compliance. -

    Not quite as upset about this federal requirement as you are about Domino’s having to tell us what’s in their pizza, eh Cinci? I guess deporting 0.1% of the undocumented residents of Illinois is an example of prudent government spending. I don’t necessarily disagree with your premise, I just wish you’d spare some of your vitriol for questionable practices enacted by the former president as much as you do for those enacted by the current one.

  5. - So. ILL - Wednesday, Aug 10, 11 @ 8:42 am:

    “Instead of making our communities safer, the program’s flawed implementation may divide communities (and) families.”

    Uhh, yeah. Isn’t that the point? I think it is kind of nice that we divide the criminals and the non-criminals and treat felons the way they ought to be treated whether they are legals or illegals.

  6. - MrJM - Wednesday, Aug 10, 11 @ 8:46 am:

    For your consideration:

    Before we hear the usual, “we need comprehensive [civil rights legislation],” (with which I agree), cohort, I ask this:

    If there is a law, is it not the responsibility of the executive, and their police arm, to enforce it? People cannot pick and choose what laws they should enforce, and should not issue edicts skirting the law.

    Until [Jim Crow Laws are] changed, we should demand compliance.

    Like I said, just something to consider.

    – MrJM

  7. - Esquire - Wednesday, Aug 10, 11 @ 8:52 am:

    Once again, Pat Quinn has shown that he is willing to pander to any interest group that is willing to lend him political support. Illinois has a serious problem with uncontrolled illegal immigration, but the political class wants to defy the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency. More immigrants mean more government spending.

  8. - Slick Willy - Wednesday, Aug 10, 11 @ 8:53 am:

    And an example of a Jim Crow law today would be???

  9. - Retired Non-Union Guy - Wednesday, Aug 10, 11 @ 9:02 am:

    Nice to see the feds actually doing one of their enumerated functions, ‘provide for the common Defence’ (securing our borders indirectly), instead of all the stuff they make up reasons to meddle in using the Commerce Clause …

  10. - 47th Ward - Wednesday, Aug 10, 11 @ 9:14 am:

    I’m all for enforcing the law so I can’t wait for the feds to throw some employers in jail. Most illegal immigrants aren’t entrepeneurs, they are working here illegally because someone hired them illegally. The feds should be seizing businesses left and right, in addition to arresting the illegal employees.

    And when are we going to start work on the border fence up north, eh? It’s aboot time we deport the Canuck’s from this country. It’s not like Americans can’t write comedy or play hockey.

  11. - Plutocrat03 - Wednesday, Aug 10, 11 @ 9:20 am:

    Is there something wrong with the concept of deporting individuals who commit a felony, especially when they are here illegally?

  12. - Skeeter - Wednesday, Aug 10, 11 @ 10:07 am:

    I’m pretty liberal on immigration. I favor driver’s licenses for illegals, a guest (or migrant) worker program, and even think amnesty is worth considering. However, the idea of protecting criminals seems to be the worst type of pandering. These people have not been locked up for lack of papers. They have either been felons or have a history of minor crimes. The idea of supporting criminals is pretty extreme.

  13. - Fed up - Wednesday, Aug 10, 11 @ 10:20 am:


    You are 100% correct if we started penalizing employers and take the incentive away from hiring illegals the immigration problem would solve itself. Force companies to use everify and fine the ones hiring illegals. I’m for a guest worker program and the country already has a path to citizenship for those wishing to be ctizens. We do need to target well educated immigrants for critical jobs. I even think the dream act with a few adjustments is a good idea.

  14. - ChitownHV - Wednesday, Aug 10, 11 @ 10:33 am:

    Ask the Farm Bureau or any organization that depends on migrant workers for labor what they feel about these laws. Also, what about the hipocrisy of one federal agency giving undocumented persons an ID number to use in order to pay taxes, while another is working over time to deport them.
    This country and its economy NEED undocumented workers for all the tasks the rest of us feel are menial. To doeny this fact is also hipocrisy. When you start paying $5.00 for a tomato, because there’s no one else who will pick them for the wages currently paid, you’ll maybe be a bit sorry.

  15. - ChitownHV - Wednesday, Aug 10, 11 @ 10:35 am:

    *sorry for all the typos.

  16. - Wensicia - Wednesday, Aug 10, 11 @ 10:51 am:

    I’m glad the Feds are stepping things up, our craven governor seems afraid to support the laws.

  17. - grand old partisan - Wednesday, Aug 10, 11 @ 11:06 am:

    MrJM, Jim Crow laws were unfair because they punished people for simply being. Immigration laws punish people for knowingly engaging in criminal activity.

  18. - Skeeter - Wednesday, Aug 10, 11 @ 11:13 am:

    GOP, the Jim Crow comments were directed at Cincy’s “whether good or bad, enforce them” comment. People suggested that we need to look at the merits of the law and not simply look at whether it is currently on the books.

  19. - 47th Ward - Wednesday, Aug 10, 11 @ 11:17 am:

    Yes, Rosa Parks was a notorious criminal GOP. She refused to ride in the back of the bus. Those young thugs who sat at whites-only lunch counters were also breaking the law. Knowingly.

    What about the children of undocmented immigrants GOP? Are they “knowingly engaging in criminal activity?”

    The reflexive “what part of illegal don’t these people understand” mindset prevents any real discussion about moving forward. Kennedy McCain was one of very few issues where I was proud of President Bush’s leadership. It’s too bad the GOP decided not to address this issue. Meanwhile 10-12 million residents are consigned to legal limbo and this action only drives them deeper into the shadows.

    Yes, the feds should deport criminals. That’s always been the case whether immigrants are here legally or not. But demonizing entire groups of people is unjust and counter-productive.

  20. - Cincinnatus - Wednesday, Aug 10, 11 @ 11:19 am:


    Jim Crow laws were overturned in an effort lead by our own Everett Dirksen. Certainly you aren’t comparing Jim Crow to the efforts to deport illegal immigrant felons, are you?

  21. - 42nd Ward - Wednesday, Aug 10, 11 @ 11:28 am:

    We already have a program that “divides communities” and breaks up families when there is a crime: it’s called prison. Should we end that one too?

  22. - Skeeter - Wednesday, Aug 10, 11 @ 11:32 am:

    Cincy, read the thread. The comments were directed at your initial comment which said that even bad laws must be enforced.

    Does that represent your views or not? If it does represent your views, then the Jim Crow comments have merit. Certainly, you would not enforce Jim Crow just because it was on the books, would you?

    This just an exhibition and not a competition. Cincy, it would be perfectly acceptable for you to say “In hindsight, my initial comment did not accurately reflect my own views.” Nothing wrong with walking something back.

  23. - Cincinnatus - Wednesday, Aug 10, 11 @ 11:44 am:

    As a general principle, there are several methods to overturn bad laws. One of them should not be a bureaucrat refusing to enforce them. Jim Crow was a horrible instance of human degradation, which I contend enforcing immigration laws is not. I will not conflate the two issues.

  24. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Aug 10, 11 @ 12:06 pm:

    So lets leave it up to Skeeter to determine which laws are good and should be enforced.

  25. - D.P. Gumby - Wednesday, Aug 10, 11 @ 12:12 pm:

    Oh if it were only as simple as presented…”we’ll only deport criminal undocumented”. You’ve never looked into the FUBAR this is ICE–the overreaching, the lack of discretion in distinguishing a felonious gangbanger from a parent wrongly convicted of a political crime in the “home” country…. If ICE could be trusted then this wouldn’t be a controversial policy.

  26. - Skeeter - Wednesday, Aug 10, 11 @ 12:16 pm:

    Well Cincy, you’ve got us scratching our heads as to what your position is. You may want to give it some thought and then flesh out that original post.

    And anon@1206: Yeah, so what? The idea that unjust laws should not be enforced is probably as old as the idea of law.

  27. - Cincinnatus - Wednesday, Aug 10, 11 @ 12:32 pm:

    Well, Skeeter, since the Court has ruled against Quinn, do you think that he should ignore the ruling and just rule by his edict, sorta like Daley and Chicago gun laws? That seems to be your position here, only pay attention to laws YOU like.

  28. - Skeeter - Wednesday, Aug 10, 11 @ 12:36 pm:

    Cincy, that would depend on the merits of the law. You made a general, and not a specific, comment. I’m addressing the general.
    Further Cincy, you may want to read through all the comments on this thread. Just sayin.

  29. - Small Town Liberal - Wednesday, Aug 10, 11 @ 12:44 pm:

    - since the Court has ruled against Quinn -

    I don’t recall any mention of the Court ruling against anyone. I’m sure if the matter goes to the Court, and the Court rules that Quinn must direct law enforcement to comply, he will do so. On the other hand, if the Court rules that the Feds overstepped and can’t force states to comply, that will be an example of one of those “several methods to overturn bad laws.” that you mentioned earlier.

  30. - OneMan - Wednesday, Aug 10, 11 @ 1:11 pm:

    As a former governor once put it, “The law is the law”

  31. - Demoralized - Wednesday, Aug 10, 11 @ 3:15 pm:

    The Executive is free to enforce or not enforce any laws he or she likes. The Legislative Branch cannot force the Executive Branch to do something (ever heard of separation of powers?). The Courts may step in and direct the Executive to do something (as the referee in these matters), but unless there is some physical action taken if the Executive refuses (such as jail or withholding funds) then there is not much that can be done.

  32. - dupage dan - Wednesday, Aug 10, 11 @ 3:47 pm:

    I am in favor of revamping immigration laws to allow more folks into this country - even in these difficult financial times, immigrants can revitalize a country thru their determination and buying power. History is clear on that.

    Having said that I would also make clear that I don’t like the idea of coddling criminals who are in this country illegally. While I don’t think we should seek out the whole illegal community I do think we should be agressively pursuing those illegal immigrants who commit crimes. Round them up and deport them. Why should our family members be at risk so that these low lives can remain here. What kind of a priority is being advanced here?

  33. - Just The Way It Is One - Wednesday, Aug 10, 11 @ 4:40 pm:

    Oh well, at least Illinois and the Governor can lay claim to passage of our Dream Act–but it just goes to show that the older and bigger “Uncle Sam” and members of his family still hold the trump card in so many of the political card games of life…what about that 10th Amendment again???

  34. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Aug 10, 11 @ 9:57 pm:


    –Further Cincy, you may want to read through all the comments on this thread. Just sayin.==

    Cincy’s more of a “waits-to-talk” rather than “listener” kind of guy.

    The immigration debate is surreal. If the jobs are here, immigrants come here, legally or illegally, to work them. If they are not, they don’t.

    The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the hotel, restaurant, construction and landscaping industries are happy with the way things were under old Texan Bush, who, like Gov. Perry, understood the benefits of a cheap, surplus labor pool with no legal rights.

    They don’t like the fact that the Obama administration has overseen record deportations and taken much of that cheap labor away.

  35. - dupage dan - Wednesday, Aug 10, 11 @ 10:26 pm:


    Surreal is spot on. Both sides are seeking expanded immigration, for different reasons. Neither side is facing the realities about it. We suffer as a result.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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