4 Ill. sheriffs sue state attorney general over ICE enforcement

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Robert McCoppin
Chicago Tribune

MCHENRY COUNTY, Ill. — Four sheriffs Monday filed a lawsuit seeking to stop enforcement of the Illinois Trust Act, which restricts law enforcement from coordinating with federal officials regarding the custody of undocumented immigrants.

The act prohibits local law enforcement from detaining people without a warrant from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the agency that handles deportation of immigrants who are in the country illegally. The state law also prohibits local officials from inquiring about a person’s immigration status.

The lawsuit was filed on behalf of McHenry County Sheriff Bill Prim, Kankakee County Sheriff Mike Downey, Ogle County Sheriff Brian VanVickle and Stephenson County Sheriff David Snyders. It names Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul as defendant.

The sheriffs stated in a news release that the Trust Act has exposed them and their offices to litigation over the years, as three of the four have been sued for alleged violations of the Act.

The suit asserts that the federal government alone has broad authority “to regulate matters pertaining to immigration and the status of aliens.” States may not obstruct enforcement of federal law, as the suit maintains the Trust Act does.

Most of the conflict between the Trust Act and federal law revolves around the use of “detainers,” which require local law enforcement to keep custody of a person for up to 48 hours to give federal officials time to check his or her immigration status. The individual may then be released or turned over to federal custody.

The ban on detainers, the suit states, unconstitutionally blocks federal law enforcement. The suit seeks temporary and permanent injunctions against enforcement of the law.