Here is the issue of the day at the McHenry County Board put on the agenda by Chairman Jack Franks:
RESOLUTION TO CANCEL THE INTERGOVERNMENTAL AGREEMENT BETWEEN MCHENRY COUNTY AND THE UNITED STATES MARSHALS SERVICE AND THE IMMIGRATION AND CUSTOMS ENFORCEMENT.
WHEREAS, in 2003, the McHenry County Board approved an Intergovernmental Agreement between the McHenry County and the United States Marshals Service and Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) now known as Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to house and transport federal immigration detainees.
NOW BE IT RESOLVED, that the McHenry County Board directs the McHenry County Board Chairman and County Administration to begin proceedings to cancel the current Intergovernmental Agreement, within the language of the current contract, to end November 30, 2020; and BE IT
FURTHER RESOLVED, that the County Clerk is authorized to distribute a certified copy of this resolution to the Board Chairman, the States Attorney Office, McHenry County Sheriff, Director of Finance, and County Administrator.
DATED at Woodstock, Illinois, this 18th day of August, A.D., 2020.
_______________________________ Jack D. Franks, Chairman McHenry County Board
The termination resolution provides no reasons for the contract’s termination, no details on the costs and savings, no nothing.
One can only assume that Franks put the resolution on the agenda without committee approval in order to please the faction of the Democratic Party led by committee member Carlos Acosta (D-Woodstock).
Organic famer commenter from Richmond complains about ICE nationally, immigration court, end this racist, money-raising concept.
A Crystal Lake female teacher says today marks an opportunity for McHenry County to show what it stands for.
“You have the courage to fight for human rights, rather than [financial gain],” said an Algonquin man who thanked Jack Franks for putting the resolution on the committee’s agenda.
Barrington Hills Martin McLaughlin, who is running for State Representative to replace David McSweeny, spoke out in favor of the $7-$8 million contract. He said elimination would negatively affect the General Fund.
“Need to get the worst of the worst out of this country,” said U.S. Senate candidate Mark Curran after calling Sheriff Bill Prim the best
County Board member Mark Vijuk from Cary spoke in favor of ending the contract. I will be a sponsor of this resolution along with my fellow Board member Carlos Acosta.
A second Democratic Board member, Paula Yensen also expressed her support for the resolution. She asked that there be a serious conversation about the contract and thanked Franks.
A McHenry County middle school teacher who immigrated from Cuba asked that there be an immigration center in Woodstock.
A Bull Valley resident named Anderson teaches in Woodstock. She pointed out that those in detention would otherwise be contributing to the economy.
A young woman who is a student emotionally told of her angst at the possibility of family members would be arrested for a minor traffic violation.
Carlos Acosta, in member comments, reported that the county seemed to be losing money on housing detainees. $95 is what the county gets paid each day. The cost over five years ago was higher, so Acosta concluded that the county was losing money.
“Ice has gone from law enforcement to” violating the law.
After praising the way Sheriff Bill Prim operated the McHenry County Jail, Acosta cited many examples how ICE was helping spread Covid-19 around the world.
He noted that Prim had no control over who ICE sends him.
“We can’t control what ICE does. We can cancel the contract.”
“The ice gravy train, if there ever was one is over,” Acosta concluded. “We need to get off before it crashes.”
When the resolution was taken up, County Board member Michael Vijuk wanted to speak again, even though he was not a member of the committee.
Chairman Robert Nowak suggested that Vijuk be allowed to answer questions, but not have the opportunity to speak again/
Kellie Wegener was the second member to speak.
She spoke on the use of excessive force by a Sheriff’s Deputy in a Woodstock arrest and the jail.
Her criticism of the Department on excessive force was strident.
She made pains, however, to explain that her position on ICE detention was not a criticism of the operation of the McHenry County Jail.
She said, it was a “significant step to create a safer environment in our country.”
Wegener said even the legal foreign citizens her are afraid.
They are afraid to report domestic abuse, because they think the abuser may be deported.
She emotionally told of the widely-publicized detention of the Crystal Lake Central High School student who received community support to the extent that she graduate on the Honor Roll.
“I’m not advocating abolishing ICE.
“I personally don’t want our county associated with ICE.
Committee member Chuck Wheeler then took the floor.
“The subject just pops up on our agenda without us having any supporting decimation.
“Bamo. We’re talking about cancelling a $10 million contract.
“What impact will this have [on our financial situation]>
“We really are not prepared to intelligently discuss what [is on the floor].
“We owe it to our constituents to [get the background information].
“It’s basically the way we have conducted business [under the current administration, that is, Jack Franks].
“You can’t tell me this won’t have an impact onproperty taxes.
“The key sponsor of this resolution is not here.
“Which programs should we cut?
“By closing this facility, you are putting [detainees] in jeopardy.”
He asked what would happen at Walmart if someone butted in the checkout line and compared it to illegal immigration.
“Two-thirds of those detained have committed criminal acts.
“And you want to let them out.”
If so, “I think they should be put on your block.”
Next, it was committee member Jeff Thorsen’s turn.
“Regarding the delivery of this proclamation…I would include a copy of the contract in the packet.
“Without the information, I don’t know how
“Comparing the ICE situation to drug deal, as Carlos did, I would just like to point out that most drug deals are [the result] of porous borders.
“On the one side we have emotional concerns which are valid. On the other…hand we have the rule of law.
He points out that national policy incarcerates those who break laws.
“We need to follow the oath we took rather than follow our emotions.”
Acosta re-took the floor.
“This isn’t a $10 million contract. The Federal government says it is going to cut the number of detainees in half.
“I don’t know why the resolution popped up now.
He said it was appropriately timed because of the timing of the budget process.
“We don’t know what the charges are of the detainees.
“We’re confusing illegal immigration with detention. We are talking about detention.
Now, “people can be in detention for as long as three years.”
At this point, Chairman Novak
“I am frustrated at how this whole thing was just dumped in our lap.”
Sheriff Bill Prim was allowed to speak next.
At about 1 hour 50 minutes Prim spoke forcefully spoke on member Wegner’s comments about use of force by this Department, I am really insulted about this.
We made our statement
I’m supposed to be in Federal Court at 9:30, but I’ll be here.
He reported that he has no Covid cases. The one detainee who tested positive was returned to his home by ICE.
Of the 128 detainees in June two-thirds of those admitted had criminal convictions, not on trial
The money from ICE comes directly to the General Fund.
“There is no agency in this county who makes a traffic stop and puts them into detention.”
“The ones we detain on a long-term basis are those awaiting deportation and are not [eligible to be quickly released].
Previous resolution about use of force is “a problem we don’t have here.”=
“There’s policies and procedures that already exist.”
“I think we are fortunate to have you as Sheriff,” Chairman Nowak said.
“Is anybody prepared to talk finances, Peter [Austin, County Administrator].
“Only at a high level,” Austin said, presenting a document.
“For 2020, losing $5 and a half million.”
Expenses cut would include correctional officers.
Acosta asks how achieved an 80% reduction from 2014.
“This Sheriff has really reduced personnel costs…eliminated top-heavy staff.
“Loaded in every cost” in negotiations with ICE.
“The $21 [per day] does not include personnel cost,” the Sheriff’s Department Sandy Salgado added.
Thorsen asked if amortization was incluced.
Austin said everything possible had been included.
“138 officers are needed to run the jail,” Salgado revealed. “With detention included need 148.”
Wegener said her comments about use of force were not meant to be critical, but that a public statement would have been helpful, that there are people out there who don’t feel safe.
“We decided that we would be better off that we did let our actions speak for themselves,” he said about his deputies being at every demonstration.
Michele Aavang asked, “How are you planning to make up the loss [of revenue]?”
“If you don’t have that, I’d say this is a political [ploy].”
Vijuk passed out something.
“Specifically to my question, where’s the money going to come from?”
To me it looks like a political move and I don’t appreciate it.”
Vijuk pointed to page 2 of this document on which he used June 25th numbers.
“We’re looking at about a 1.9% decrease.”
He pointed out that he and Acosta were not running for office, so it was not political.
“What department is going to be but, that’s a Board decision, not mine, I will participate.”
“To say this is not political is disegenious,” Thorsen said.
“You should know that; I know that.”
“It would have been really, really useful to have had this document before the meeting.
“This is totally unfair the way we are playing baseball really sucks.”
“Perhaps, the discussion should have gone through Finance.”
“A lot of good discussion and I see no more lights,” Nowak said.
“This kind of got thrown in our laps.
“I must have had 150 phone calls.
“It seems to me the frustration out there is immigration and I don’t see it has anything to do with detention.”
The roll call showed those not in favor: Aavang, Jung, Nowak, Thorsen, Wheeler and Wilbeck.
The only ones in favor were the two Democrats: Acosta and Wegener.