McHenry County Jail Makes Chicago Tribune Front Page Story

Sunday’s Chicago Tribune had a front page story that seems to have been inspired by two Catholic nuns not being able to talked to illegal aliens detained there.

It seems Sheriff Keith Nygren thought that the services of his award-winning chaplain, Michael Love, were sufficient, but Sisters Pat Murphy and JoAnn Persch didn’t.

Rebuffed, the two champions of immigrant rights went to Springfield and got state law changed so they could provide conversation and counseling to those detained.

The story, by Margaret Ramirez, relates how Sister Pat Murphy buttonholed former Senate President Emil Jones (D-Chicago) and laid a guilt trip on him.

The bill passed both houses of the Illinois General Assembly without a negative vote.

Interspersed in the story are the type of separation stories that played out in my legislative office during the 1990’s, especially after INS raided the Crystal Lake Holiday Inn. Fortunately, I had Pete Castillo as my legislative assistant to handle such cases. The one I remember best is a man’s coming in with a young child and a baby after his wife had been shipped to some regional detention center before the McHenry County Jail started accepting detainees.

In one of the two photos in the story, you can clearly see “McHenry County Jail” is written on the back of the orange jump suits.

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I thought that I and the young Chinese politicians I took to the McHenry County Jail two years ago as part of an exchange trip arranged by the American Council of Young Political Leaders were being show the immigration detention floor until I read the comments under this story.

Now I’m not sure.


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