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Holder Should Require Cook County To Follow Immigration Law


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2158836Washington Examiner:


Whatever else one thinks about the many immigration issues facing this country, reasonable Americans of good can agree that illegal immigrants who commit crimes within the United States should be deported as soon as possible after they complete serving their jail sentences. There are more than enough Americans who make war on our society by committing crimes -- the last thing we need is to make more room here for criminals from other nations as well.


For this reason, federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials place detainers on illegal immigrants convicted of crimes. When state and local governments release them from custody, they are placed in the hands of federal officials, who are then required by law to return these criminals to their countries of origin. This process is one of the key means by which the federal government protects Americans from harm by people who shouldn't be in this country in the first place.


But what happens when local government officials decide to ignore the federal government when it asks them to detain criminals who are illegal immigrants? We might soon find out. Cook County, Ill., has ignored 268 detainers for aliens "charged with, or convicted of a crime, including serious and violent offenses on a law enforcement officer," according to a letter from ICE Director John Morton. Cook County, home to Chicago, receives between $3 million and $4 million annually in federal reimbursements to hold criminal aliens, yet it has passed an ordinance that defies federal immigration law by refusing to hold them in custody. Irate Republicans in Congress -- led by House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith of Texas -- have sent the Justice Department a letter demanding action.


President Obama's Justice Department is supposedly very concerned with defending federal prerogatives on questions of immigration law against intrusion by state and local governments. Attorney General Eric Holder cares so much about this that he took a legal ax to Arizona after that state passed a law requiring state and local law enforcement authorities to report immigration violators who are arrested.Scissors-32x32.png

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