News and Commentary

Cook County Ignored More Than 1,000 ICE Detainers In Fiscal Year 2019, Allowing Repeat Offenders To Roam Free
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Law enforcement in Cook County, Illinois, allowed more than 1,000 criminal illegal aliens to go free in Fiscal Year 2019, ignoring detainer requests from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

A press release from ICE highlighted some of the illegal immigrants who were released from prison despite ICE lodging immigration detainers, including domestic abusers and an attempted murderer. One of the men who were released from Cook County law enforcement officials were rearrested without officials notifying ICE that they had been released. South African national Rasheed Abass, 50, was arrested in June 2019 for indecent exposure, released, and then arrested in July for assault. ICE placed detainers on him after each arrest but were ignored. Nicaraguan national Kennete Acevedo Ortiz (also known as Kennev Vasquest-Rugama), 28, was arrested three times in Fiscal Year 2019, once for driving under the influence, once for domestic violence, and a third time for failing to appear in court.

“The most concerning issue about working in an area that refuses to cooperate with ICE is not only that we do not know which criminal aliens are being released from custody, but the public doesn’t know either,” said Henry Lucero, ICE’s acting deputy executive associate director for Enforcement and Removal Operations in the press release. “Because ICE does not have access to standard Illinois law enforcement databases, it’s difficult to accurately account for all the aliens who have been arrested, released and committed additional crimes. However, with the limited information ICE can verify, we know that police resources are being wasted, more people are being victimized, and it’s a matter of time until something more significant happens.”

ICE officials also listed the following offenders as being released or about to be released even after a detainer was lodged:

  • On Dec. 3, 2018, ICE lodged a detainer with the Cook County Jail on Rokas Ablacinskas, a 22-year-old citizen of Lithuania, following his arrest for attempted murder, aggravated battery of a victim over the age of 60 and aggravated battery in a public place. Without notifying ICE, the Cook County Jail released Ablacinskas Sept. 17, 2019, and he remains at large in the community.

  • On, Dec. 10, 2018, ICE lodged a detainer with the Cook County Jail on Isidro Ramirez-Hernandez, a 52-year-old citizen of Mexico, following his arrest for aggravated domestic battery and strangulation. Despite an active immigration detainer, the Cook County Jail released Ramirez-Hernandez March 18, 2019, and he remains at large in the community.

  • On Aug. 10, 2019, ICE lodged a detainer with the Cook County Jail on Mahmoud Abu Maghli, a 27-year-old citizen of Jordan, following his arrest by the Burbank (Illinois) Police Department for recklessly discharging a firearm. He remains in the Cook County Jail where, under existing sanctuary laws, he will be released into the community.

ICE detainers pertain to people who have been arrested and suspected by ICE of being removable aliens. The detainers merely request that law enforcement officials notify ICE when a criminal alien is being released and to maintain custody for short amount of time so that the agency can take the alien into custody.