A big cause for protest last year in McLean County has receded in importance. Sheriff Mike Emery says the number of detainer requests for undocumented immigrants has fallen by more than 74% in the first eight months of the year. Emery says he's not sure why, though it may be a policy change on the part of federal officials caused by Illinois' mandatory participation in the secure communities program starting in January.
Sheriff Emery says so far this year federal immigration authorities have asked his jail to hold 26 people for pickup and removal to a detention center compared to the 101 at this time last year. Emery says his jail has had a couple hundred foreign nationals come through the facility this year from 42 countries. Members of Latinos United for Change and Illinois Public Action lobbied last year for Emery to stop honoring ICE detainer requests to avoid splitting families apart. Emery disagreed with the activists and said he believed the law required him to comply. Even though the detainer numbers have fallen, Emery says immigration reform still needs to happen on the federal level.
Support Your Public Radio Station