Sunday, February 13, 2011

Overcrowding At ICE Midwest Detention Centers Results In Transferring To Texas Of Illegal Immigrants Detained For Minor Violations

Reports of numerous transfers of undocumented immigrants detained for minor traffic violations to Texas draws outrage in Chicago's Mexican community.

By H. Nelson Goodson
February 13, 2011

Chicago - Information through an e-mail has been circulating in the Chicago-Rockford, Illinois metropolitan area alleging that Chicago's federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detention center has reached maximum capacity. Other ICE contracted detention centers in the Midwest and at the Dodge County jail in Wisconsin have been operating in full capacity.
Only the Dodge County jail in Wisconsin has an full contract agreement with ICE to hold illegal immigrants from multiple states. ICE transfers illegal immigrants from Illinois, Kentucky, Indiana and several other states to Dodge County for hold until they are moved to a detention center in Chicago for removal. ICE pays at least pays $400 per illegal immigrant and deports through the Dodge County jail at least between 400-600 illegal immigrants per week.
As a result, law enforcement agencies (police) in the Cook County area that stop illegal immigrants for minor traffic violations and report them to ICE are transferred to Texas and other out of state centers to relieve the overcrowding at the Chicago detention removal center. The transfers have drawn criticism and outrage from the Chicago Mexican community and immigration rights activists. They claim, the transfers cause hardships, delay legal representation, becomes difficult to locate detainees and divide families.
The Cook County jail processes undocumented immigrants as well, when brought in for minor traffic violations or serious alleged criminal offenses.
In one case according to an e-mail, Jesus Cesar from Rockford was detained last week by police for a minor traffic violation. On Friday, family members went to pay his fine or bail for his release. Police notified them, he had been moved to Texas by ICE.
On Monday, an immigration attorney will seek his release from ICE and will ask for his return to Rockford, according to Jesus Vargas, a community activists who is circulating the e-mail. So far, Vargas has confirmed that at least 20 illegal immigrants have been released through their efforts.
The Mexican Chicago Consulate has yet to comment about the alleged transfer of numerous immigrants to other states due to the over capacity of ICE detention centers. The transfers make it more difficult for family members to seek legal representation for those arrested by police and reported to ICE.
ICE has not commented on the overcrowding at the local removal center and other detention centers running in full capacity in the Midwest.

Online Detainee Locator System (ODLS) for families, attorney's and interested parties to locate ICE detainees at link

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