Dramatic New Law Restricts Illinois Police Cooperation With Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)
Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed Senate Bill 667, called the “Way Forward Act”, dramatically restricting the way local law enforcement will be able to cooperate with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in Illinois.
The legislation restricts ICE from working with local police departments in the state. Restrictions on participation in raids, sharing of information, and the end of detainment camps will be some of the new rules for local police and immigration.
According to Governor Pritzker, “the Illinois Way Forward Act strengthens the TRUST Act by taking immigration status off the table in all state procedures where it has no relevance, putting greater teeth into those protections through the attorney general’s office and making Illinois the second state in the nation to require all local officials to end partnerships with ICE by the end of this year.”
Pursuant to the new law, ICE will no longer be able to use local jails or hold contracts with detention centers in Illinois, law enforcement will not be able to give them information about custody status or release dates for those with immigration charges, and police will not be able to transfer anyone into ICE custody.
ICE utilizes contracts with county jails, detention centers and private facilities to detain individuals for immigration-related offenses or to hold them during deportation proceedings.
In Illinois, three county jails hold contracts with ICE, Jerome Combs Detention Center in Kankakee, the McHenry County Jail, and the Pulaski County Detention Center. These three counties will be required to terminate their agreements before January 1, 2022. ICE pays Kankakee County $90 a day per detainee and McHenry County $95 per detainee, according to officials in both counties.
Under this new law, anyone arrested and detained by ICE in Illinois will have to be transferred to an out-of-state facility, according to advocates. County jails and local law enforcement will also be barred from entering into new agreements with ICE for immigration detention purposes in the state of Illinois.
The passage of this new law is one step in the right direction to putting an end to profits motives for private prison companies and counties from making a profit from locking people up. Many immigrants are fearful of local law enforcement, fearful that by reporting a crime or cooperating with an investigation, they will be reported to ICE and face deportation proceedings. This law is designed to put an end to those fears for immigrants living in Illinois.
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