Sen. Jason Plummer
Illinois state Sen. Jason Plummer (R-Edwardsville) is calling on Gov. J.B. Pritzker to immediately rescind a policy change enacted by his administration that the Illinois Sheriffs’ Association insists now allows violent felons facing deportation to be released into local communities without notice.
“There used to be policy and practice where these prisoners upon release would be handed over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), but the Pritzker administration has changed the process so they don’t notify ICE any longer when these prisoners are released,” Plummer told the Metro East Sun. “Now, they’re just given a bus or train ticket and sent off. These are violent criminals in the country illegally that are now being let go into communities.”
At a recent press conference to call attention to the problem, Livingston County Sheriff Mike Downey told the Dispatch-Argus the change in policy is the equivalent of giving the ex-inmates a "head start to evade federal law."
Plummer said lawmakers in Springfield only became aware of the issue after law enforcement agents stepped forward to complain about the danger they sensed it posing to communities and the officers assigned to police those areas.
“This is beyond irresponsible,” he added in a post to Facebook. “This is extremely dangerous and it is putting politics above public safety. The list of prisoners that were released in 2019 and successfully transferred before this policy change went into effect included murderers, child molesters, rapists and more.”
A spokesperson from the governor’s office described the policy switch as a “pause in corrections' interactions" with ICE while the administration conducts a procedural review.
According to Dispatch-Argus, in 2019 of the 223 immigrants transferred from Pontiac to ICE detention 11 were convicted of murder or attempted murder, over four dozen of predatory criminal sexual assault or abuse, some of which involved children, and 33 were convicted of a crime involving a weapon.