LA and Cook Counties swap notes on immigration and public safety

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Robert Ray/AP

A pedestrian walks across a bridge along the Chicago River in that city's downtown. Cook County, Illinois, where Chicago is the county seat, has passed an ordinance that mirrors the TRUST Act in the California legislature. (Robert Ray/AP)

Last September, Governor Jerry Brown vetoed the TRUST Act. That bill would have prohibited California law enforcement agencies from turning over undocumented immigrants without serious criminal records for deportation. On Monday, December 3, what's being called "TRUST Act 3.0" will be reintroduced to the California legislature.

Turns out that an ordinance with the same provisions passed in Cook County, Illinois - where Chicago is the county seat - last fall.

Cook County Commissioner Jesus Garcia introduced the law in defiance of federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement. That agency regularly asks local police to give it custody of arrested immigrants in what are known as ICE detainers.
 
“I think that what we have done in Cook County is to call ICE’s bluff," said Garcia. "We believe they’ve engaged in aggressive bullying by confusing people about their ICE detainers and making them think that they are mandatory—they are not.”
 
ICE officials have criticized the Cook County ordinance. They say the release of unlawful immigrants could threaten public safety. But so far, the ordinance hasn't been challenged in the courts.

Garcia plans to join LA Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and immigration policy experts for a  discussion at Loyola Law School about immigrants and public safety, from noon to 3 pm on Saturday, December 1.

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