Immigration Holds at Cook County Jail

There was a hearing yesterday called by Alderman Danny Solis regarding immigration holds on people being brought through Cook County Jail. This was to probe whether city or county officials were tipping off Immigration and Customs officials regarding possible illegal immigrants in Cook County Jail.

Now, about half of my clients are Hispanic and about half of them are not legal residents. I do inquire as to your legal status when you sit for an interview with me, namely because a felony conviction will almost always preclude you from getting residency status, especially for drugs or violent crimes. However, that is, like all information imparted to me, kept in the strictest confidence.

Still, it is both city and county law, as well as federal law, not to inquire as to the immigration status of any applicant for city or county services, nor while you are in court. The U.S. Constitution applies to you, whether you are here legally or not.

What I have heard, far more often recently, is that folks going into Cook County Jail are being held on immigration holds, and not being released on bond. This was confirmed by the meeting this week that was held by Ald. Solis.

If you are here illegally, this should not result in an immigration hold. If you have another reason for the immigration hold (an outstanding warrant in another state, a prior felony conviction that could result in deportation, etc.) then it will be applied to you. What you need to do next is consult with a lawyer, and an immigration one at that.

Whatever criminal charges you are now facing are just the beginning of your problems.

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4 responses to “Immigration Holds at Cook County Jail

  1. Pingback: Deportation for Baking Soda: Or Why Possession of Cocaine Can Really Screw You « 26th St. Bar Association

  2. a local lawyer in NC is filing state habeas petitions against the jail for holding folks on immigration detainers without bond (and I think without probable cause). The habeas petitions totally gum up the system and really piss off the jail, but they make things happen for your client. Might be worth exploring.
    http://www.indyweek.com/gyrobase/Content?oid=oid%3A263762

  3. p.s. it makes it seem from this story like this lawyer is an immigration lawyer – but he’s not. he’s a criminal lawyer, doing this in his criminal cases.

  4. Kate –

    Hey sis! I agree, it’s definitely a problem…and you’re right, filing a habeas is one way to go. Generally we refer them to an immigration lawyer….but I’m also interested to see how efficient they are in Cook County. I had a client get picked up in June for cocaine possession, I followed up with his family last week, and he was already deported. I’m thinking, given the proximity of the federal courts and the ICE center downtown that they are more efficient, like the lawyer in that article you linked to mentioned.

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