Law Enforcement Decry Pritzker Anti-ICE Action

State Senator Don DeWitte points me to The Center Square article below.

He observes, “The issues raised by law enforcement officials should concern all Illinois residents. I join my colleagues in demanding answers from the Illinois Department of Corrections on the reasoning for the recent change in policy.”

Sheriffs: New State Policy Allows Convicted Felons Evade Federal Authorities

Local Officials Warn That Radical Policy Shift Endangers Local Communities 

KANKAKEE, Ill. — Illinois Sheriffs are raising alarms that a recent policy change by the Illinois Department of Corrections (IDOC) allows dangerous felons to be released back into Illinois communities.

This is occurring despite valid requests by federal immigration authorities to transfer the convicted felons to a designated holding facility while the individual’s immigration case is reviewed and adjudicated.

In 2019, 223 individuals were transferred to the Jerome Combs Detention Center in Kankakee after serving time at an IDOC facility for their felony convictions.

This occurred via a notification from IDOC at the request of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

Starting in January 2020, IDOC stopped notifying federal authorities and instead allowed these individuals to be released immediately from the correctional facility into Illinois communities where they had been serving their sentence.

“The public needs to know that this policy shift results in convicted felons being released back into our counties and neighborhoods without notice—despite federal authorities asking that they be transferred to another facility in the judicial system,” said Sheriff Mike Downey of Kankakee County.

More troubling to the sheriffs and law enforcement is that there is no notice or warning given to local or federal authorities when the individuals are released.

“The State of Illinois is helping convicted felons get a head start on evading federal authorities who simply want to do their job,” said Christian County Sheriff Bruce Kettelkamp.

“The lack of coordination is raising the stakes that a dangerous or violent altercation will occur in our communities between a recently-released felon, who knows that immigration authorities are looking for them, and any law enforcement officer.

“This policy undermines the rule of law, endangers our local communities and puts the lives of our first responders at risk.”

A review of the transfers completed in 2019 by the Kankakee County Sheriff Office found that the individuals requested by ICE and transferred to the correctional facility had been convicted of committing the following crimes in Illinois

  • 36 individuals were found guilty of sexual offenses against minors, including crimes against individuals as young as 5 years old;
  • 11 individuals were found guilty of murder, attempted murder or intent to kill or injure;
  • 19 individuals were found guilty of predatory criminal sexual assault;
  • 33 individuals were found guilty of a criminal offense involving a weapon;
  • 50 individuals were found guilty of drug offenses involving a substance other than cannabis; and
  • 55 individuals were found guilty of felony-level traffic offenses including aggravated DUI, having a fourth DUI or a DUI resulting in death. 

The Illinois Sheriffs’ Association urges Gov. Pritzker to reconsider the policy and enable IDOC to coordinate with its partner in law enforcement and criminal justice.


Law Enforcement Decry Pritzker Anti-ICE Action — 14 Comments

  1. They need VOTES!

    time to start incarcerating the politicians..

    breaking the law no one is above the law…No One..

  2. What we need is for the U.S. Attorney General to charge ALL mayors and governors who have declared their cities or states as sanctuaries for illegal aliens, which is a violation of federal law for harboring illegal aliens. Then, prosecute them to the fullest extent of the law and fine and/or jail them when found guilty in a court of law.

  3. Right, Fatty Pritzk endangers each and every Illinoisian ….. he even endangers other illegal aliens!!!

    Our lives matter, Fatty Pritzk.

    We don’t get 15 state troopers to protect us like your enormous butt does!

  4. One of the “designated holding facilities” for ICE is McHenry County Jail—heck the reason for its huge expansion and hiring some years ago has all been based on holding illegals ready for deportation, or Federal charges, for the Feds.

    Holding them there brings in Revenue for this county.

    Without them, there is no way that complex would be that big or that many officers on the payroll—not with the 3 “D’s”; DUI, Drugs, and Domestics that account for the vast majority of arrests in the County.

    Holding illegals is a money maker for the County.

    The more detainees for the Feds the better, so Pritzkers “let them go” policy after doing State time, hurts more than being just a danger to the community.

    Hits the County pocketbook here.

  5. I object to bad reasoning, whichever side it’s used by.

    The Illinois Sheriffs argue that this policy “allows dangerous felons to be released back into Illinois communities”.

    Now, correct me if I’m wrong, but EVERY felon who completes his sentence is “released back into Illinois communities”. This is true of felons who are citizens and felons who aren’t citizens.

    Therefore the problem is that we’re releasing felons after they’ve completed their sentences.

    And, thus, the only solution is to lock up every felon for life and never to release them.

    Or that’s a ridiculous conclusion and the Sheriffs are conflating two issues and using inflammatory language.

    Now, if the Sheriffs want to argue that SOME of the felons are in this country illegally and that it’s reasonable to give ICE the chance to deport them, that’s a position that can be argued.

    But the argument as expressed is a clear attempt to deceive the public by conflating two issues and using inflammatory language.

  6. When people come here, ignore our immigration laws, and then molest children and murder people, I don’t care how bad the “logic” of the sheriff’s argument is, these people should be deported.

  7. Correcting, you’re saying The end justifies the means.

    Whether some people should be deported is a separate issue from whether or not the sheriffs are seeking to mislead the public.

  8. There was a whole process in place to deal with undocumented felons once they were released from prison.

    Upon completion of their sentence, the undocumented felons were transferred to the Pontiac Correctional Center in Livingston County, where a Kankakee County Sheriff Deputy would pick them up and detain them under an ICE contract.

    The ICE would deport them.

    It’s safer for everyone if ICE picks up an undocumented felon at the Kankakee County jail, as opposed to apprehending them wherever where they could more easily put up a fight, potentially placing innocent bystanders at risk, etc.

    Of course ICE could just capitulate to the desire of Illinois lawmakers and the Governor and no longer deport convicted undocumented felons upon their release from prison.

    Beyond that, there are procedural changes that need to take place.

    Undocumented felony sex offenders were not placed on the Illinois State Police Sex Offender Registry, because they were deported after their sentence (which may not have been the best policy because they may return).

    And obviously there was no need for a parole officer after undocumented felons were released from prison, since once again, they would be deported.

    During the legislative process the citizens of Illinois were not notified by lawmakers that the legislation (the Trust Act, Senate Bill 0031 signed into law as Public Act 100-0463 on August 28, 2017) would result in the State discontinuing their policy of transferring undocumented felons to ICE upon completion of their sentence, and instead releasing them in Illinois.

    This new policy was thus not the will of the people, as the people were unaware of the potential for such a policy.

    JB Pritzker did not mention the issue during his campaign.

  9. No, Steve, that is not what I’m saying.

    I’m saying just because someone doesn’t have the best argument doesn’t mean they’re necessarily wrong about what to do.

    We’re releasing illegal aliens who committed violent felonies and you’re worried about being logically sound; and you didn’t even address the big issue.

    Is the bigger problem “bad reasoning” or is the bigger problem that we have illegal aliens coming here committing violent felonies and then getting released into the community?

    It’s absurd.

    Everybody reading this blog knows it.

    You’re overthinking this.

  10. Correcting, you said, and I quote,”I don’t care how bad the “logic” of the sheriff’s argument is”.

    Would you feel the same way if public officials were purposely attempting to mislead the public on a policy with which you disagreed?

    There are two separate issues here.

    When government officials seek to mislead the public, whether you agree with their conclusion or not, we have an obligation to call them out on this and to oppose them.

    Otherwise, don’t complain when your opponents do exactly the same thing.

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