The McHenry County sheriff was sued Friday over his refusal to release an inmate who, his lawyers say, should be freed on bail under a new state immigration law.
Lawyers representing the Crystal Lake man, Niceforo Macedo-Hernandez, say McHenry County authorities are not complying with the Trust Act, which Gov. Bruce Rauner signed into law last week and which says that, without a judge’s warrant, state and local authorities can’t arrest or detain people based on their immigration status alone.
The suit is the latest effort to free Macedo-Hernandez, a Mexican immigrant who was arrested in August on a misdemeanor domestic battery charge. When his family tried a week ago to pay his $500 bail, county authorities first declined, citing an immigration hold. Eventually they accepted the bond payment, but instead of releasing him to his family, he was transferred into the custody of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, which has begun deportation proceedings.
At least two other immigrant inmates in McHenry County Jail have also been denied release under similar circumstances since the Trust Act went into effect.
* Northwest Herald…
A McHenry County judge has set bond for Macedo-Hernandez, but Sheriff Bill Prim refused to release him. He declined even after a judge’s order that the inmate’s family be allowed to post bail. Prim essentially decided to hold Macedo-Hernandez without bail because of his questionable immigration status, saying that the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency has requested he be held in jail.
Macedo-Hernandez and two other McHenry County residents are now suing Prim for refusing to follow the Trust Act. McHenry County State’s Attorney Patrick Kenneally is backing Prim, claiming in part that the state’s Trust Act is unconstitutional because it is pre-empted by federal immigration law and that legislators can’t tell elected officers what laws to enforce.
* The money angle…
The jail has had an agreement with ICE since 2014 that allows it to house federal detainees in the jail for between $85 and $95 a day for each inmate, and a transportation rate from $34 to $48 an hour, according to court documents.
The McHenry County Jail housed 280 daily ICE inmates in 2011, but that number dropped to 179 in 2013, according to the McHenry County Sheriff’s Office website. Prim took office in 2014, and the jail housed 192 inmates in early 2016. Prim said in a 2016 news release that he was encouraged to see the “downward slide” halted.
* Today, Attorney General Lisa Madigan issued guidance to state, county and local law enforcement agencies…
Federal and state law – including the newly enacted Illinois Trust Act – limit the authority of Illinois law enforcement agencies to engage in immigration enforcement activities. All law enforcement agencies and officers must be aware of and stay within these limitations when conducting law enforcement activities. This guidance provides an overview of relevant federal and state law and may be a useful resource to Illinois law enforcement agencies. In summary, based on constitutional protections, federal and state statutes, and policy considerations, Illinois law enforcement officers and agencies:
* Shall not stop, search, or arrest any individual on the sole basis that the individual is undocumented; arrests may be made only when Illinois law enforcement has an arrest warrant or probable cause to believe that a criminal offense has been committed;
* Are in violation of state law and constitutional protections if they detain an individual pursuant to an ICE detainer beyond his or her normal custody release date;
* Are not required to participate in immigration enforcement activities and shall treat a request from federal immigration authorities for access to detention facilities or individuals held by local authorities as a request, rather than an obligation;
* Are not required to inquire or collect information about individuals’ immigration or citizenship status;
* Should consider whether any internal policies regarding sharing immigration status information with federal immigration authorities will promote trust and confidentiality in their communities;
* Should consider requiring all officers to identify the jurisdiction they represent when engaging with community members or knocking on doors to encourage transparency and cooperation and to avoid any concern or confusion about whether the officers work for federal immigration authorities.
* Lake Co. releases 1st immigrant from jail under Trust Act provisions: ‘I could breathe again’