IL Sheriffs Challenge Bar on Immigration Arrests

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Illinois sheriffs sued the state attorney general Monday over a law prohibiting police from arresting anyone based solely on their immigration status, which the sheriffs argue forces them to choose between enforcing state or federal law but not both, Courthouse News Service reports. The measure, known as the Trust Act, was signed into law by then-Governor Bruce Rauner in 2017. It prohibits police from searching, arresting or detaining someone solely because of immigration status, or because of so-called immigration detainers issued by federal immigration officers, which notify local law enforcement that the Department of Homeland Security has found probable cause that detainer subjects are removable aliens.

Such detainers require law enforcement to hold undocumented immigrants in custody for up to 48 hours for a variety of potential infractions, long enough for federal immigration authorities to pick them up. Federal courts have found that detainers are not sufficient for local jails to hold someone after bail has been posted or beyond their sentence. A complaint in Rockford federal court by sheriffs from four counties says the Trust Act “would prohibit Illinois law enforcement from complying with a federal immigration detainer” and “is in direct conflict with federal laws requiring cooperation between federal and state law enforcement officials.”

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