It has been reported that ICE Director John Morton has asked Attorney General Holder to take legal action against Cook County, Illinois for their failure to deliver undocumented immigrants to ICE for deportation. Cook County currently is not utilizing the Secure Communities fingerprint sharing (a.k.a. racial profiling) program.
Director Morton has stated that: “Right now, it’s not a question of Cook County releasing some individuals to us,” “They are releasing no individuals to us, including very violent offenders, and I just don’t think that’s good policy.”
It has been further reported that DHS Secretary Napolitano is also "fed up" with Cook County, and is pushing for legal action that would require the County to comply.
One option also being considered is to withhold federal aid allocated to counties that hold criminal aliens in State jails. Cook county is one of the top ten recipients nationwide receiving $13 million since 2008.
Ranking Democrat Rep. Henry Cuellar is on board: “They cannot say, you know, we don’t want you to do Secure Communities, but then at the same time they’re requesting federal dollars for holding those prisoners.”
In related news, Morton prepared written testimony for a House Committee on Homeland Security, Subcommittee on Border and Maritime Security hearing titled “Building a Secure Community: How Can DHS Better Leverage State and Local Partnerships?”
Morton indicated that ICE has caused confusion by failing to properly explain how the Secure Communities program works. Apparently, it wasn't properly conveyed that the Obama administration is using Secure Communities as a tool to deport people of color that have never been charged with any crime and to detain U.S. citizens in maximum security prisons using bogus immigration detainers.
Morton's remarks include statements that ICE takes seriously complaints raised about civil rights violations related to Secure Communities.
Director Morton, if you are reading, you can officially consider this blog as an ongoing complaint.
Please check back often.
And incidentally, it was nice seeing you in Buffalo yesterday. I hope you enjoyed your visit.
Matthew Kolken is a trial lawyer with experience in all aspects of United States Immigration Law including Immigration Courts throughout the United States, and appellate practice before the Board of Immigration Appeals, the U.S. District Courts, and U.S. Courts of Appeals. He is admitted to practice in the courts of the State of New York , the United States District Court for the Western District of New York, the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, and is a member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA).