The Illinois Sheriffs’ Association held a press conference today with several legislators where they revealed a new policy by the Illinois Department of Corrections ordered by Governor Pritzker. The policy change prohibits local authorities from communicating with ICE officials when they release felons who are undocumented. ILGOP Chairman Tim Schneider released the following statement in response:
“Governor Pritzker has decided to prioritize the release of violent criminals onto the streets over the safety of our communities and families. His decision is appalling. This is the policy implication behind the Governor’s apparent belief that illegal immigrants who commit felonies should not be deported from this country. That is a misguided and radical belief espoused by presidential wannabes like Bernie Sanders.
Should any of these illegal immigrants and convicted felons commit another violent crime upon release, Governor Pritzker must explain why he put their freedom over the safety of the victims and all Illinoisans.”
In 2017, then-Gov. Bruce Rauner, a Republican, signed into law the Trust Act, which prohibits state and local police in Illinois from arresting or detaining a person solely because of their immigration status, or based on a federal immigration detainer. Under the law, authorities are able to hold someone if a judge has issued a warrant.
* The main critic of the new policy is this sheriff…
“I’m here to sound the alarm that a recent policy change by the Illinois Department of Corrections is making our communities and neighborhoods less safe,” Kankakee County Sheriff Mike Downey said Tuesday at a Capitol news conference with House and Senate Republicans.
Downey said his department contracts with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement to coordinate the pickup, transfer and detainment of people released from state prison but still subject to federal detainers due to immigration status.
Prior to the change, IDOC would transfer them to the Pontiac Correctional Center, where the Kankakee County Sherriff’s Department would pick them up an hold them at the Jerome Combs Detention Center in Kankakee County until their immigration case is reviewed and adjudicated.
But because of the policy change, which sheriffs said they learned of indirectly on Jan. 30, all such transfers at the request of ICE are no longer allowed, Downey said.
* From 2018…
Two county jails in Illinois set a record for receiving $959,000 in federal revenue.
Kankakee County’s jails in May broke its previous 2013 record when it received $957,000 in outside inmate bed rental money, the Daily Journal reported.
Nearly all of the money comes from federal agencies. Kankakee County gets $80 daily for each inmate from the feds
* Illinois Coalition for Immigrant & Refugee Rights…
ICIRR supports the new IDOC policy and any further efforts by Governor Pritzker’s administration to distance state and local governments in Illinois from federal immigration enforcement. IDOC and other law enforcement agencies are barred by the Illinois TRUST Act (which ICIRR led the campaign to pass) from holding any individual solely based on a warrant or detainer issued by US Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
To be clear, individuals are being released because they have done their time. Sheriffs Downey and Childress are claiming that: 1) state law should be violated, and 2 ) the time served that the criminal justice system deems appropriate is insufficient and there should be different standards depending on a person’s place of birth. It is highly problematic that these law enforcement agents don’t believe in actual enforcement of the law.
We are pleased that IDOC is complying with the TRUST Act, and urge all other law enforcement departments throughout the state to follow suit. We will continue to work with Governor Pritzker to ensure that our state is welcoming for all.
West Suburban Action Project applauds Governor Pritzker’s compliance with the TRUST Act, a law signed by former Governor Rauner that PASO advocated for and passed in 2017. Limiting local law enforcement collaboration with immigration agencies improves the safety and security of all Illinois residents. All law enforcement agencies are bound by and should comply with the TRUST Act that prohibits unlawful arrests. Local law enforcement may not comply with requests from immigration authorities to hold immigrants, unless immigration agencies comply with the Constitution and present lawful criminal warrants. Immigration enforcement agencies are appropriated billions of dollars each year and Illinois agencies should not bear the cost of enforcing federal immigration laws. Illinois residents released by the Illinois Department of Corrections (IDOC) have served their sentences and should be able to reintegrate into their families and society to live full and dignified laws irrespective of immigration status. Communities of color should not be further penalized with immigration enforcement. PASO and our partner organizations will continue to work closely with the Governor to ensure that Illinois is the most welcoming state in the country.
* National Immigrant Justice Center…
NIJC applauds Governor J.B. Pritzker for recognizing that we are all safer when our leaders embrace policies that protect and support community wholeness and family unity. Ending cooperation between the Illinois Department of Corrections (IDOC) and Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is in accordance with the Illinois TRUST Act, a law that NIJC advocated for when it was passed in 2017. Imposing the second punishment of deportation and exile on those who have already made their way through the criminal legal system disrupts family units and destabilizes communities, leaving us all less secure. We are pleased that our state is upholding the rule of law, and will continue to work to ensure Illinois is a welcoming state, free of the reckless and racially charged immigration enforcement practices that terrorize our communities.
Also, if you click here you can search for state inmates and get a projected discharge date. As the governor’s office notes, ICE could just use that search.
*** UPDATE *** Press release…
The Illinois Legislative Latino Caucus released the following statement in response to the Republican attempts to misrepresent legislation preventing the extrajudicial detention of immigrants:
“While we have made tremendous progress to protect the civil rights of all Illinois residents, the Republican Party is falsely claiming that individuals that are a danger to the public are being released back into communities. This is a bigoted lie and they should be ashamed of themselves. Ultimately this comes down to the fact that local police departments are no longer able to benefit from their lucrative contracts with ICE to oppress immigrants. The Trust Act ensures that people are treated fairly in our criminal justice system, so that once they serve their time, they are released just like everyone else. That’s it.
“Every time people of color have achieved a step toward equity under the law, there are those who actively seek to undermine that progress through fearmongering and grossly distorting the truth. This sort of rhetoric has no place in Illinois and it must called out for what it is, inflaming racial tensions for the sake of political gain and preservation.
“We will continue to stand with those on the front line doing the work to protect our communities and do the work in the Legislature to advance laws that reflect our values of equality and justice for all.”