Cook County, Illinois' controversial illegal immigration policy, which critics say paved the way for a suspect in a deadly drunken driving crash to bond out of jail and disappear, may violate federal law, the U.S. immigration director told County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, reports the Chicago Sun-Times. “This ordinance undermines public safety in Cook County,” said U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Director John Morton. “In addition to undermining local public safety, the [ordinance] may also violate federal law.”
The letter was dated the day various media outlets reported the case of Saul Chavez, 36, who was charged in a deadly hit-and-run crash in Chicago last June. His family posted 10 percent, or $25,000, of the $250,000 bond, and he was released in late November. He hasn't been seen since. In the days after Chavez's arrest, immigration officials issued a “detainer” for him, asking that the county jail notify the agency when the suspect posted bond and to detain him up to 48 hours so agents could pick him up for possible deportation proceedings. In September, the county commission told the jail to ignore the immigration detainers — describing the detainers as requests and not arrest warrants, as a federal court ruled earlier in the year.