Thursday, September 27, 2012

S-Comm Stories on WILL Radio

Here's the recent 2-part radio series for WILL in Urbana about local law enforcement agencies agreeing to hold non-citizen prisoners on behalf of federal immigration officials:

Part I:

Part II:

A longer print version:

Section pertaining to CUIF's actions working with local law enforcement to end ICE holds:

Last December, the CU-Immigration Forum held a public meeting at the Champaign Public Library to discuss Champaign County’s implementation of Secure Communities. The immigration program drew up a lot of concern and interest, based on the more than 125 people who showed up to the forum.

“In its one year implementation in Champaign County, it has been plagued by problems,” Aaron Johnson-Ortiz, a member of the CU-Immigration Forum, told a crowd

According to analysis of non-citizen arrests held on ICE holds from Oct. 5, 2010 to Aug. 15, 2012 from data provided by the Champaign County Sheriff’s Office:

  • 45 of the 67 arrest records in Champaign County were between March 2011 and March 2012
  • 43 of those arrested identified as Hispanic
  • 35 were released to ICE
  • 10 of the arrests made between March 2011 and March 2012 were for traffic violations, including driving on a suspended license, driving an uninsured vehicle, driving an unregistered vehicle, driving under suspicion (DUS) and driving with improper registration.
  • Nine of the 10 traffic violation arrests made were of people identified as Hispanic. One identified as white, non-Hispanic
  • Charges were dropped against 11 of the 45 arrested between March 2011 and March 2012

Johnson-Ortiz listed several concerns he and others shared about Secure Communities, including separating families, using up jail space and tax dollars to house ICE detainees, and encouraging racial profiling.

“Champaign can stop a hold. This can happen tomorrow morning if Sheriff Walsh wants to. All that’s required is political will,” he added. “We can stop this right now.”

Three months after the forum, that is exactly what Champaign County did.