The federal agency in charge of immigration enforcement made a proposal to Cook County: Get rid of your law prohibiting federal immigrant detentions and we will pay the cost of detention. The Chicago Tribune obtained a letter from John Morton, head of federal Immigrations and Customs Enforcement, stating that the agency would pay for the costs of incarceration for suspected undocumented immigrants detained by Cook County law enforcement after they have posted bail.
Cook County Commissioners passed an ordinance prohibiting ICE detentions in September, partly citing detention costs. But cost was a secondary issue at a hearing three weeks ago, when the focus was on the rights of undocumented immigrants versus the potential safety threats of released undocumented immigrants charged with crimes. An amendment to the ordinance would honor ICE detainers when it involved people charged with serious felonies or those on the terrorism watch list.