John Morton, head of federal Immigrations and Customs Enforcement, is again at odds with Cook County over what ICE perceives as an overly permissive attitude toward illegal immigrants. Now there's a sensationalized new wrinkle.
Morton wrote a letter January 4 to Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle. It says county policy instructing Cook County jail to ignore ICE agents, who want to detain suspected illegal immigrants that posted bail, runs afoul of federal law. ICE has previously blasted Cook County, because county law enforcement does not participate in Secure Communities, in which local police collaborate with ICE to apprehend undocumented immigrants. But now ICE has the much publicized case of Saul Chavez to cite: Chavez is an illegal immigrant who posted 10 percent of a $250,000 of bond to Cook County, was set free, and is charged with killing a Chicago resident while driving drunk.
Preckwinkle, though, supported Cook County immigration policy at a news conference yesterday. Preckwinkle said the problem is not how Cook County deals with immigrants, but how it handles bail. She suggests a task force to improve how bail is set at all criminal cases.