Immigration Agents Move Out Of Criminal Court Building

CHICAGO (CBS) — Federal agents who track illegal immigrants are no longer working out of the Cook County Criminal Courts building where they were able to immediately check arrest records and begin deportations.

As CBS 2’s Suzanne Le Mignot reports, historically, ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) agents have been reviewing the arrest reports of all incoming prisoners born outside the United States.

They were looking to see if a person was here illegally or had sufficient criminal convictions to warrant deportation. Mysteriously, the immigration agents were recently told to leave.

An ICE spokesperson issued a statement that said:

“U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) works closely with all law enforcement agencies – local, state, federal and international – to accomplish our common goals of combating crime and protecting public safety. On March 25, Cook County State’s Attorney officials notified ICE that we may no longer station ICE agents at the Cook County facility, located at 26th & California, to review county arrest records and identify criminal aliens. ICE and Cook County officials are discussing the issue to best accommodate our common goals and challenges.”

A state’s attorney spokesperson offered this response: “There has been a misconception the State’s Attorney’s office has been working with ICE or providing information on those in custody. This is not true.”

Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart said he was fine with having the federal agents there.

“There might have actually been something helpful by having them here, that namely they were more quickly able to discern who are in fact citizens and who is not and then we’d leave them alone,” Dart said.

A law enforcement source said past cases show why tabs need to be kept on new inmates. The source said one inmate, Marek Tomaszewska, had an immigration hold, or detainer, placed on him on March 23 after being charged with attempted murder and numerous counts of aggravated battery. 

The immigration hold placed on Tomaszewska happened two days before ICE agents were told not to come back to the facility. If Tomaszewska is convicted in this most recent case, he would be eligible for deportation, even though he has a green card.  He has one prior conviction for domestic battery.

In Tomaszewska’s current case, he is accused of allegedly beating his girlfriend so badly he almost killed her. According to court and police records, Tomaszewska was arrested on March 21, 2011. He was charged with one count of attempted murder, two counts of aggravated battery causing great bodily harm, one count of aggravated battery and one count of domestic battery.

Court and police records say Tomaszewska pushed his girlfriend to the ground and kicked her in the face and body.

Father Chuck Dahm is a member of the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant & Refugee Rights.  Dahm said Tomaszewska’s case is not a reflection of all illegal immigrants.

“The fact you have one case does not prove the rule that you should pick up absolutely everybody,” he said. “Their tendency to be involved in serious crime or violent crime is much less than the general population.”

In response to this story, the Federation for American Immigration Reform issued a statement that said in part:

“Checking inmates for immigration status and deportable offenses is the easy stuff for law enforcement — the inmates are already incarcerated! If we’re not doing this, we’re not doing anything. Checking (an) inmate’s immigration status is a basic minimum to ensure public safety.”

Cook County and Chicago both have “sanctuary” ordinances that prevent police officers from inquiring about immigration status and prevent them from working with ICE on investigating or pursuing anyone regarding their immigration status.

  • dan

    What the @#$%! It makes perfect sense to me to check the immigration status for incoming inmates. If they are coming in the jail they did something wrong, if they are here illegally they broke the law. If they are illegal they should be deported, period! There is no way to put a noble spin on this, why not deport them? Why keep stiffing the middle class taxpayer in order to provide the free medical and link cards for people that have and continue to break the law.

    PS-Arizona should have the right to protect themselves from the wave of bandits that keep swarming through their state as well creating murder and mayhem along the way-and I’m not some extreme right winger saying this-it’s all common sense!


    It’s not like Chicago,Cook county,and Illinois aren’t broke and can’t pay their bills.A major reason for that is is we have the liberal democrats in office and they want to keep the illegals as they help keep them in office.”Sanctuary” ordinances just help protect the law breaking illegals,while the taxpayers foot the bill for their link cards and all their drug cash is going back to Mexico. Illinois,Land of Ill-repute and crooked politicians. Can you say graft? How about paybacks and kickbacks? Also,please do not ask the gang bangers if they are here legally,it might offend them.

  • Enrico Ramirez

    What the hell is wrong with these moron decision makers? They need to step it up and deport every single last illegal criminal they can find. If you find one, it will lead you to twenty more, and twenty more each and so on. This problem is similar to destroying a roach infestation! You gotta get em all!!!!

    • Hector Chaves

      I agree, this should be a top priority problem, federal, state,etc. Immediate deportation of anyone who came her uninvited (Illegally) These illegals are a serious stain on our country. Mexico isn’t a sh!thole on accident!!!

      • D B

        No, Mexico isn’t how it is on accident. It is that way due to intential actions by the United States and rest of the Global North to exploit certain nations and populations of their resources and cheap labor.

        NAFTA is a major factor to the increasing economic disparity between the US and Mexico…. As well as something that has driven 10’s of thousands from rural areas to urban areas, which have no opportunities, and then drive people to seek a livlihood to survive in the US.

  • Miss D.

    The person’s status is checked when they are booked and NOT after they had been convicted. So to say that they are criminals and therefore are rightly being handed over to ICE is absurd. The article should mention the other hundreds of people with immigrantion detainers that were picked up after a traffic stop. Not for killing or hurting someone but for getting to and from work and home. Then there’s cases like McHenry County that received millions from the federal government for housing persons on detainers; officers are being accused of hanging around areas with high numbers of Latinos expecting to pull over someone without a driver’s license.

    • cw

      You are indeed a moron.

  • Mr. G

    Miss D., SO what are you going to say next after the Illegal gets a DUI and along with the DUI they hit somebody and that somebody is your daughter or other close relative resulting is serious injury or worse, now what? Don’t tell me your argument is probably going to be that it could happen to anybody, illegal or not. THE problem is: its not your problem until you actually experience the problem!!!

  • Removal

    Miss D, you along with most “Americans” do not know how the immigration process works and therefore you’re opinion is based on emotions and incomplete/inaccurate news reports and not complete, accurate and real information. If they are illegally present in the U.S. when checked during the booking process, they are being rightfully detained by ICE regardless if the open criminal charges stick and thus, mission accomplished and another illegal alien (no such thing as an illegal immigrant) has been located, accounted for and eventually placed into deportation proceedings and removed back to their country of citizenship. Part of the checks being done during the booking process is to first see what the person’s immigration status is (illegally present, lawful permanent residence (green card) or other lawful admission into the US.). If they have a green card and no prior criminal convictions deemed a deportable offense by federal law, no detainer will be placed at that time and the subject’s criminal case will be monitored for a final outcome. If convicted for a deportable offense, the alien will be located, arrested and placed into deportation proceedings. If they’re illegal or here on a Visitor Visa or some other temporary lawful status, a detainer will be placed which remains with them during their criminal case. Once that state case is completed, they’re either sentenced and sent to jail/prison, in which case the detainer follows, or they receive time served or no conviction and either way are turned over to ICE.

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