Controversial Program Yields 260 Deportation Cases
Byline: Tony Gordon Legal Affairs Writer firstname.lastname@example.org
By identifying illegal immigrants 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 opened since Sept. 1, Sheriff Mark Curran and other officials said this week.
Administered by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement branch of the Department of Homeland Security, the program allows ICE to place a detainer on any illegal immigrant arrested on charges of a felony offense.
The detainer places an indelible mark on an inmateAEs 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 faced controversy when he announced his program in December 2007, and thousands protested WaukeganAEs city council in 2007 when it sought similar powers. The Lake County Board came to accept the sheriffAEs department plan when it learned only those convicted of the worst crimes would be targeted.
Curran said the program 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 perform any functions usually performed by ICE agents. …