Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Activists cheer as Cook County bucks Department of Homeland Security

The Cook County, Illinois Board today passed a local ordinance that will terminate the county’s cooperation with the Department of Homeland Security with respect to immigration holds. The county voted to refuse to honor immigration holds unless the federal government reimburses it for all costs associated with this additional detention. Currently, it costs the county $43,000 total per day to hold individuals involved with immigration detainers. Those detainers are not even typically supported by any evidence that the individual is deportable.

With this ordinance, which is effective immediately, the Board rejects Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) unfunded mandate to fulfill our nation’s flawed federal enforcement priorities. In addition to cutting the use of immigration detainers, the ordinance also significantly curtails ICE access to individuals in Cook County custody. From now on ICE agents will have to have a criminal warrant in order to conduct investigative interviews with them.
Photo credit: Immigration detention

  In a statement today, Mary Meg McCarthy, the executive director of the National Immigrant Justice Center, a human rights groups headquartered in Chicago, applauded the county’s move as “courageous leadership.” She continued to say:

“The Cook County Board’s decisive action shows that ICE’s current enforcement practices are counterproductive to public safety efforts, waste taxpayer dollars, and violate individuals’ rights. We thank Cook County Commissioner Jesus Garcia for his stewardship of the ordinance and we call on other county boards to follow the Cook County Board’s example and reject ICE’s use of immigration detainers.”

Source: Heartland Alliance's National Immigration Justice Center

1 comment:

America said...

This was very bitter sweet for me. My fiance was held there before ICE took him. It was too late for him but I'm glad other families are not going to be torn apart, in cook county at least.