The Cook County Board has agreed to hold hearings to reconsider whether to continue to hold defendants that have immigration holds on them in Cook County Jail. In September, 2010, Cook County Commissioners voted to stop honoring requests from federal Immigration officials to hold suspected illegal immigrants while the federal government checked on their immigration status. One of the reasons given by Board members for voting to not honor the requests was because this policy was putting defendants charged with minor criminal offenses at risk of being deported. I also suspect that another reason was that the cost of holding these suspected illegal immigrants in jail until immigration officials picked them up was too much for Cook County. However, a few weeks ago a defendant was released from custody after he was charged with killing a pedestrian in the Logan Square neighborhood. The Defendant has since fled and ICE had put an immigration hold on him. This story has caused the Cook County Board to revisit this move and has now agreed to hold hearings. Board members have requested imput from the Office of the Cook County State’s Attorney and from the Cook County Sheriff. One of the Board members has introduced a measure that would reinstate the policy of complying with federal immigration holds but only in cases involving violence and drugs or if the defendant is listed in a federal terrorist watch list. The President of the Cook County Board is seeking to expand the inquiry to include a thorough review of how bond is set for all criminal defendants, regardless of immigration status. Both the Office of the Cook County State’s Attorney and the Cook County Sheriff indicated that they look forward to participate in any future hearings.
For more information about the Chicago criminal defense attorneys at Legal Defenders, P.C., visit us at www.thelegaldefenders.com or call us anytime at 1-800-228-7295.