An official of Chicago’s Cook County sheriff’s office said her agency has “no interest” in joining an effort that would use local police to round up immigrants living in the U.S. without legal permission, reports the Chicago Tribune. “We have not been approached nor would we be interested in participating in this program,” said Cara Smith, policy chief for Sheriff Tom Dart. “Our focus is and will remain on addressing violence in the city. The sheriff’s office is bound by a 2011 county ordinance that allows people suspected of being in the U.S. illegally who have been jailed in misdemeanor and felony cases to be freed, on bail for example, despite federal requests that they be detained, Smith said.
Federal officials cautioned that many changes detailed in new Department of Homeland Security immigration enforcement memos will take time to implement and that other policies that grant agents and officers greater powers will be used with care and discretion. Immigrant rights groups have expressed concern that the new policies will lead to widespread enforcement raids and abuses by federal authorities as they seek to ramp up deportations of the nation’s 11 million immigrants without documentation.