Federal officials are threatening retaliation against a Cook County policy of disregarding immigration detainers. The detainers are requests by ICE, or Immigration and Customs Enforcement, that Sheriffs hold inmates who are undocumented immigrants for pickup for two days so deportation proceedings can begin. An argument against the holds is that they can erode community trust in local police. In a congressional hearing this week, ICE Director John Morton said he has tried dialog with Cook County.
"I don't think that approach is going to work in full. We are going to need the help of others. We have been exploring our options under federal law with the department of Justice and we will see."
Morton says he may try to cut off federal funds for the Cook County jail. McLean County honors ICE detainers, although the Bloomington-Normal immigrant community has been vocal in opposing the policy by Sheriff Mike Emery. Meanwhile, the District of Columbia this week passed a policy similar to Cook County's refusal to cooperate with the feds. So has New York City, Connecticut, and a county in California.
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