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  1. #1
    Senior Member Ratbstard's Avatar
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    County board to debate controversial immigration policy

    suntimes.com
    BY LISA DONOVAN Cook County Government Reporter
    Updated: February 8, 2012 11:27PM


    Cook County commissioners will be on the hot seat Thursday as they face critics and supporters of a controversial policy directing the county sheriff to ignore requests from the feds to hold suspected illegal immigrants in jail longer.

    Immigration rights activists, expected to show up by the dozens at a public hearing in the downtown county board room, will call on elected leaders to stand by the new policy, which saves county taxpayers money and some of the U.S. citizens drawn in to deportation investigations, merely because of their last names.

    Brian McCann, too, is expected to testify that the new policy paved the way for his brother’s alleged killer to post bond, walk out of jail and disappear.

    “My effort here is to restore some measure of justice because the retribution my family is seeking has been lost — this ordinance allowed my brother’s [accused] killer to flee. The effort is to try and prevent this from happening to another family,” Brian McCann told the Sun-Times this week, noting he’d like to repeal the policy or change it.

    It was the McCann family’s heartbreaking loss and criticism of county policy — reported in the Sun-Times and other outlets — that prompted U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Director John Morton to send a letter to County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, questioning whether the policy is legal. Preckwinkle, who has said the bond set for suspects is the real issue in play and not immigration policy, stood by the measure and invited Morton to meet. Neither are expected to attend Thursday’s hearing, their spokespersons say.

    William “Denny” McCann, 66, was struck and killed as he crossed the street in the Logan Square neighborhood last summer.

    Saul Chavez, 36, was charged in the deadly hit-and-run crash on the city’s Northwest Side back in June 2011. His family posted 10 percent of the bond or $25,000 and he was released in late November. He’s since vanished.

    In the days after Chavez’s arrest, immigration officials issued a “detainer” for him, asking that the county jail notify the agency when he posted bond and to detain him up to 48 hours so agents could pick him up for possible deportation proceedings. Under the new policy, he was released.

    The high-profile case pushed county leaders to revisit the policy, though it’s not clear it will move the needle much.

    Cook County Commissioner Jesus “Chuy” Garcia and Preckwinkle, who championed the policy change, say they have no intention of backing down.

    They and others have pointed to an Indiana federal court ruling calling the detainers “requests” — not formal arrest warrants.

    Under the old policy “we were holding people hostage, there was no legal reason to hold them,” Commissioner Larry Suffredin said.

    Nothing will be voted on at the close of the public hearing, but commissioners will mull over the testimony as they consider two amendments: One giving Sheriff Tom Dart sole discretion over detainer enforcement. The second, endorsed by Dart, calling on his office to enforce detainers involving those facing various violent and other felonies, high-level drug offenses and anyone on a terrorist watch list.

    Several commissioners have quietly raised concerns that Thursday’s meeting could devolve in to an ugly war of words over immigration.

    To that, Commissioner Tim Schneider, a Northwest suburban Republican who objects to ignoring the detainers wholesale, said: “This isn’t an issue about immigration, this is an issue about public safety — do we want people charged with serious violent felonies released back in to the community or do we want them held pursuant to these ICE detainers?”

    County board to debate controversial immigration policy - Chicago Sun-Times
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  2. #2
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    “This isn’t an issue about immigration, this is an issue about public safety — do we want people charged with serious violent felonies released back in to the community or do we want them held pursuant to these ICE detainers?”
    How about yes and yes.
    Last edited by kathyet; 02-09-2012 at 11:57 AM.

  3. #3
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    Cook County Board wrestles with immigration ordinance amid heated criticism





    Brian McCann, whose brother was killed by an allegedly drunken driver who was an illegal immigrant, testifies against a Cook County ordinance that freed the man before his immigration status could be checked. (Nancy Stone, Chicago Tribune /


    By Antonio Olivo, Chicago Tribune reporter February 10, 2012



    Faced with criticism that hardened felons are being set free to commit more crimes, Cook County officials wrestled Thursday with a controversial local ordinance that prohibits the sheriff's office from cooperating with detention requests from federal immigration officials.
    Since the ordinance was passed in September, County Jail authorities have ignored federal requests to hold for up to 48 hours suspected illegal immigrants picked up for other crimes, both misdemeanors and felonies.

    In that time, the county has released 346 suspected illegal immigrants after they've posted bond. Another 148 suspected illegal immigrants remain in jail on charges included murder, aggravated battery and sexual assault — but are eligible for release if they make bail, Sheriff Tom Dart said during Thursday's sometimes heated hearing.

    The hearing lasted nearly four hours, and Dart was among those who argued for amending the ordinance so suspected illegal immigrants charged with violent crimes or other serious felonies would be held, even if they made bail, for federal deportation proceedings.
    The sheriff's office said 11 of the suspected illegal immigrants who made bail were later arrested for other crimes, including battery, theft and driving under the influence.

    "Let's make a distinction," Dart said to county commissioners. "Clearly, there are some offenses that people agree are of a minor nature, other offenses that are more serious and, those more serious ones, we should deal with them differently."

    Board President Toni Preckwinkle and Commissioner Jesus "Chuy" Garcia, D-Chicago, who sponsored the ordinance, argued that detaining anyone beyond what the law requires for the alleged crime would be unconstitutional.

    Because the "holds" requested by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement are not considered federal warrants, keeping suspected illegal immigrants behind bars without probable cause would violate the Fourth Amendment, supporters of the ordinance said.
    "We should have equality under the law for people who are documented and undocumented," Preckwinkle said in an interview. She argued that public safety concerns can be addressed in a pending review of how criminal bonds are set in Cook County.

    While the commissioners debated the legal points of the ordinance, the emotionally charged issue drew shouts and applause from many in the packed boardroom.

    Dart repeatedly blamed ICE officials for "abdicating their responsibility" on immigration enforcement. ICE officials, who did not attend the hearing, said the agency is willing to help the county find a balance in the ordinance.

    Among those in attendance was Brian McCann, whose brother William was killed when an illegal immigrant plowed into him while allegedly driving drunk. Saul Chavez, who had been convicted of a previous felony drunken driving charge, was arrested after that fatal crash but disappeared after posting bail.

    "Good public policy is not easy to forge," Brian McCann, 64, said to the board after calling for justice for his family. "Try to remove the politics from it."


    Cook County Board wrestles with immigration ordinance amid heated criticism - chicagotribune.com
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  4. #4
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    Added second article above to the homepage:
    http://www.alipac.us/content/cook-co...criticism-158/
    Support our FIGHT AGAINST illegal immigration & Amnesty by joining our E-mail Alerts at https://eepurl.com/cktGTn

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