The prominent Chicago law firm of Jenner & Block has taken over the representation of Niceforo Macedo-Hernandez, believed by the McHenry County Sheriff’s Department to be an illegal alien.
McHenry County Sheriff Bill Prim refused to release Macedo-Hernandez, a twenty-some year Crystal Lake resident jailed since August 8th for domestic battery, after his daughter appeared with bail money a week ago. (The daughter also attempted to post bail on August 10th.)
“…on August 9, 2017, the same day of Mr. Macedo-Hernandez’s arrest in case No. 17 CM 0780, the U.S. Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement issued and transmitted to Defendants a documents known as an immigration ‘detainer,’” the suit states, noting further that a detainer “is a request, and not a command,” not signed by a judge and good for only 48 hours the person would otherwise be released.
Under the TRUST Act, signed by Governor Bruce Rauner on August 28th and purporting to make Illinois what outside observers characterize as a “Sanctuary State,” the twenty-year resident should , and not a command.have been released, according to his attorneys.
Jenner & Block argue the following are in danger:
- any person the Sheriff believes to be an undocumented immigrant because the Sheriff’s willful flouting of Illinois law places in jeopardy anyone whom the Illinois TRUST Act sought to protect from official state detention based only on his or her immigration status
- any person who is arrested anywhere in McHenry County, charged with a crime and turned over to the Sheriff’s custody—as occurred with Mr. Macedo-Hernandez
- any undocumented person who is currently charged with a crime, has posted bond and was released on conditions of bond administered by the Sheriff, and who now is under threat of unlawful detention by the Sheriff as a result of his willful disobedience of the Illinois TRUST Act.
The Sheriff is accused of “the Sheriff’s blatant flouting of Illinois law.”
The law, according to Jenner & Block
“provides that no law enforcement officer or agency may detain any person on the sole ground of such person’s immigration status, a federal immigration detainer request, or a non-judicial federal immigration warrant.”
Prim’s delay in releasing the defendant allwed “federal immigration officials to set in motion a chain of events that would allow Defendants to claim that they cannot release Mr. Macedo-Hernandez because U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (“ICE”) now has custody of him.”
Friday Jenner & Block asked for “a writ of habeas corpus compelling his immediate release.”
Jenner & Block seeks to make this a class action suit covering
“Mr. Macedo-Hernandez or any similarly situated person solely on the basis of immigration status, an immigration detainer request, or a non-judicial immigration warrant”
Besides Macedo-Hernandez, the Chicago attorneys say they are representing
- Plaintiff John Doe #1 is a young man in his late teens and a resident of McHenry County. He has resided in the United States since he was an infant. He is an applicant in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. His immigration status, coupled with the Defendants’ refusal to comply with the Illinois TRUST Act, places him at risk of unlawful detention in the event he has an encounter with McHenry County law enforcement, including the Sheriff’s Office, as residents of McHenry County commonly do every day for a variety of reasons, some not related at all to whether such persons are accused of violating any laws.
- Plaintiff John Doe #2 is an adult in his mid-40s and a resident of McHenry County. Earlier in 2017, he was charged with a misdemeanor criminal traffic offense. He posted $120 bail and was released from custody. Because his misdemeanor criminal case is not resolved, from time to time he must appear at the McHenry County courthouse. Like John Doe #1, he encounters the frequent possibility of having an encounter with McHenry County law enforcement, including the Sheriff’s Office, and his immigration status, coupled with the Defendants’ refusal to comply with the Illinois TRUST Act, places him at risk of unlawful detention.
As Macedo-Hernandez’ attorney tried to get him before a McHenry County Judge, Immigration and Custom Enforcement had interviewed the jailed man and ordered him to a Chicago facility.
An injunction is sought to force the Sheriff’s Department to
- Comply with the Illinois TRUST Act on an ongoing basis by ceasing from detaining or continuing to detain Mr. Macedo or any similarly situated person solely on the basis of immigration status, an immigration detainer request, or a non-judicial immigration warrant.
- Further complying with the Illinois TRUST Act by ceasing Defendants’ policy and practice of discouraging pre-trial detainees and their associates and family members from posting bond to obtain release in pending criminal cases by advising them that posting bond would be “a waste of money” because a detainee subject to an immigration detainer request or non-judicial cannot be released, as such continued detention on that basis is now unlawful under the Illinois TRUST Act.
- Accept bond payment in all cases in which a detainee has been granted bond
The brief points to “likely thousands of undocumented residents in McHenry County, and certainly many more in Illinois, who have been subjected to continued detention” who are put “at risk of an unlawful detainer…going forward.”
It notes the number of “ICE prisoners” at 192, according to a April 19, 2016, press release and as many as “250 at this time.”
The number similarly situated is unknown, Jennewr & Block says.