But the Illinois attorney general’s office argues that the 9th Circuit decision only applies to private actors, and that the U.S. Supreme Court has said the 10th Amendment gives the state the power to refuse to participate in federal programs, such as immigration detention. With the Illinois Way Forward Act, the state chose to prohibit its “subunits” of government from detaining immigrants in ICE custody at their jails — and the counties have no legal basis to leapfrog the state, attorneys for the state argued.
“The state’s sovereign choice, not the counties’ preference, is what matters in this case,” a lawyer for the office wrote in its most recent filing.
A spokesperson for Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul did not make Raoul or any of the lawyers in the case available for an interview but said in a statement the office is committed to defending the Illinois Way Forward Act, which she said is “aimed at building and preserving the trust between immigrant communities and law enforcement that is critical to enhancing public safety.”
An ICE spokesperson did not respond to an emailed list of questions for this story.
When the Illinois Way Forward Act was signed into law, there was a third county in Illinois with an ICE detention contract: Pulaski County, at the far southern tip of the state.
Unlike McHenry and Kankakee counties, Pulaski County opted to end its contract with ICE. The federal government released 15 of the 50 or so immigrants who had been detained at the Pulaski County Jail — and the rest were transferred to other ICE detention centers, particularly to Kankakee and McHenry counties, said Mark Fleming, the associate director for federal litigation at the National Immigrant Justice Center, a nonprofit organization in Chicago that aided many of those immigrants in their release petitions.
via Dispatch Argus
November 20, 2021 at 05:59PM