From the beginning, the Obama administration has made the claim that the “selective deportation” scheme it initiated did not apply to dangerous criminals. Only peace-loving, law abiding illegal aliens would be allowed a “stay” of deportation proceedings, they explained. Just the good guys.
But how is this permissive deportation policy working “on the ground” in municipalities across the country? Let’s consider Cook County, Illinois.
JW this week filed a lawsuit in the Cook County Circuit Court challenging Sheriff Tom Dart’s refusal to honor ICE immigration detainers or cooperate with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in identifying deportable criminal aliens. Cook County jails have released as many as 1,000 criminal aliens sought by ICE in the past 18 months alone!
And are any of these individuals dangerous? You bet.
We filed our lawsuit, in partnership with Illinois counsel Christine Svenson, on behalf of lifetime Cook County resident Brian McCann, whose brother William “Denny” McCann, was run over and killed in June 2011 by an unlawfully present criminal alien who had just completed a two-year term of probation for a 2009 DUI conviction.
The illegal alien, Saul Chavez, was charged with felony aggravated driving under the influence, but was released by Dart from a Cook County jail in November 2011 despite an ICE immigration detainer. (ICE issues detainers when it learns that criminal aliens are being held by state or local law enforcement officials. The detainers require that criminal aliens be held for an additional 48 hours to enable ICE to take custody of them before they are released.)
But Chavez was not detained and turned over to authorities as instructed by law. He was instead released, and is believed to have fled to Mexico.
Federal and state laws are clear. They require Dart to honor immigration detainers and cooperate with ICE investigators. So how did this happen? Evidently, Dart, instead of following federal and state laws, chose to abide by a September 2011, Cook County ordinance directing him to refuse ICE detainers. He also denied federal agents access to Cook County facilities for investigative interviews.
You read that correctly. A county ordinance instructed Dart to ignore federal immigration laws, a move so egregious, even ICE Director John Morton, the “father” of selective deportation, was shocked to hear it!
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