JCUA Speaks Out for Continued County Ban on “Detainers”

The Cook County Board recently made history by adopting an ordinance that keeps taxpayers from picking up the tab for federal immigration enforcement. Now, however, the board’s action is under attack.

Though it’s already officially law, the ordinance was discussed at a public hearing this morning, attended by numerous supporters of the existing language.

JCUA believes the existing county ordinance is a good policy that protects public safety and reserves limited law enforcement resources.

For years, the federal government has issued “detainers” that instruct local police to hold individuals after their authority has expired and until immigration agents can take custody, costing Cook County residents millions of dollars each year. The county board found that the vast majority of individuals held on detainers had only minor criminal charges, and that the federal detainer policy dissuaded immigrant victims and witnesses from stepping forward to report crimes.

Jane Ramsey, president of JCUA, delivered the following testimony at today’s hearing:

“We applaud the County’s wise decision to not act upon ICE detainer requests. These requests have deleterious effects upon families and communities, separating children from parents, and spouses from one another. In addition to the emotional loss and loss of parental support and guidance, the economic impact is devastating as families lose their source of income.

“As well, the detainers promote racial profiling and have resulted in the wrongful detention of U.S. citizens. Thus, ICE’s practices with respect to the detainers are unconscionable and indefensible.

“Unlike arrest warrants, ICE holds are not required to meet any standard of proof and ICE’s current practice is to issue holds without requiring a finding of probable cause that an individual is deportable . Finally, the practice of engaging our police forces with immigration detentions undermines the vital relationship and trust between the police and the community.

“We urge the Cook County Board to reject any and all efforts to weaken the existing ordinance and strongly support its continuing on its current path, truly now a model county onto the nation ensuring that all persons are treated with dignity, compassion and respect.”

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