Immigration Enforcement

Lake Co. Illinois Criminal Alien program leads to 260 deportation cases

By identifying illegal aliens arrested in Lake County as soon as they come into the criminal justice system, the federal Criminal Alien Program has resulted in 260 deportation cases being opened since Sept. 1, Sheriff Mark Curran and other officials said Tuesday.

Administered by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement branch of the Department of Homeland Security, CAP allows ICE to place a detainer on any illegal immigrant arrested for a felony offense.

The detainer places an indelible mark on an inmate’s paperwork that follows him or her through the system, and upon completion of the criminal proceedings against the inmate, results in their immediate transfer to ICE for deportation.

“The cost of illegal immigration to law enforcement and the criminal justice system is astronomical,” said Curran, who touted the program at the Lake County jail as proof of the results of local law enforcement cooperation with the federal government. “We are a nation of immigrants, but we are a nation of laws as well, and we are enforcing the law in Lake County.”

Curran said CAP is different from the ICE 287g program he has also applied to be a part of, because unlike 287g, his employees do not receive power to do any functions usually performed by ICE agents.

Gail Montenegro, public affairs officer for the six-state area covered by ICE’s Chicago office, said the CAP program resulted in the opening of 221,085 deportation cases last year, up from 164,296 in 2007.

Not all those targeted for deportation have left the country, she said, because ICE waits for jail or prison sentences imposed on convicted criminals to be served before removing them from the country.

In Lake County, Curran said roughly 20 percent of the jail population at any given time is made up of illegal aliens and that there are currently 152 foreign-born individuals in his custody.

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February 25, 2009 - Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , ,

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