County To Free Illegal Immigrants Being Held On Minor Charges

CHICAGO (CBS) — Immigrant rights activists won a victory in Cook County Wednesday, as the County Board agreed to free illegal immigrants being held on lesser charges.

As WBBM Newsradio’s Lisa Fielding reports, when federal authorities arrest illegal immigrants, they are jailed in Cook County. But it is up to the local government to pay for their detention.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Lisa Fielding reports

County Board President Toni Preckwinkle says the new ordinance ends this practice.

“This is a great step forward toward a more fair policy,” she said.

Under the ordinance, illegal immigrants being held on misdemeanor charges will be released, despite federal requests to the contrary. It follows a federal judge’s ruling in Indiana that U.S. and Immigration and Customs Enforcement detainers in local jails are voluntary, rather than mandatory, the Chicago Tribune explained.

“This is about serving our taxpayers better, and ultimately, this is about keeping families together,” Preckwinkle said.

During debate on the ordinance Wednesday, some commissioners warned that hardened criminals could end up on the streets as a result.

Commissioner Timothy Schneider (R-15th) called it the county’s “Willie Horton moment,” the Tribune reported. Horton was the Massachusetts prisoner who escaped during a weekend furlough and committed assault, armed robbery and rape, in a scandal that became a campaign issue in the 1988 presidential race in which George H.W. Bush defeated former Massachusetts Gov. Michael Dukakis.

But in the end, county commissioners voted 10-5 to end unfunded mandates by federal authorities. Preckwinkle says the new law will save taxpayers more than $15 million per year.

  • Roberta Waker

    Minor charges? Isn’t crossing the border illegally a FELONY? These people should not be set free unless they are being DEPORTED. Everyone that voted for this law should be fired ASAP. Hope ICE was there when they were freed, so they could be arrested for being in this country ILLEGALLY and DEPORTED. What a stupid law. Soon the cops won’t even be able to arrest you for speeding, going thru a stop sign or anything else and we will have anarchy.

    • John A Randolph

      Sorry, 8 USC 1325 (Illegal or Improper Entry by an Alien ) first offense is a misdemeanor.

  • southside

    Shameful performance by the county board. Illegal means illegal. Society breaks down when we start ignoring the laws in place. Sad.

  • Jo


  • Jose Rodriguez Matinez Gonzalez Doritos

    Again! An absolute outrage! This is a major step backwards towards a more fair policy. Meaning fair to Americans. There is no such thing as an illegal immigrant. An illegal alien is NOT an immigrant, they are nothing short of common criminals. Why weren’t these people deported? I just don’t get it. What ever happened to mass deportation? When will polititions and the government start listening to the majority of Americans. WE DO NOT WANT THESE PEOPLE HERE!!!!!

  • boil

    not only is being an illegal a felony, but using false docs like a drivers license, or s.s.#, which they all do, is a felony. at some point the real citizens united will be people in the streets rounding up illegals themselves.

    • John A Randolph

      Look us this charge 8 USC 1325 (Illegal or Improper Entry by an Alien ). It is from Title 8 of the United States Code The first offense is a misdemeanor.

      • Jose Rodriguez Matinez Gonzalez Doritos

        Who cares? The point is, the criminals should all be deported, felony or not..

  • B

    They have to free, so they can take jobs away from our teenagers.

blog comments powered by Disqus
Daily Weather Reports Delivered To You!SIGN UP NOW: Get daily weather reports every morning from meteorologist Steve Baskerville!
CBS Sports Radio RoundupGet your latest sports talk from across the country.

Listen Live