New Policy Releases Non-Citizen Felons from Prison

State Representative Charlie Meier (R-Okawville) joined members of law enforcement and his legislative colleagues in criticizing a new state policy implemented by Governor Pritzker’s administration that ends cooperation and communication between the Illinois Department of Corrections and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) when inmates are released from prison.

“I find it very disturbing the state is releasing non-citizens that are rapists and sexual predators into our communities,” said Rep. Meier. “We are talking about non-citizens that were convicted of serious crimes. They should be sent to federal authorities for deportation.”

Until last month, when non-citizens completed their state prison terms, they were typically transferred to federal immigration authorities where their immigration status was reviewed and adjudicated by a federal judge. Now the non-citizens convicted for heinous crimes are being released.

In 2019, 223 inmates were transferred to the Jerome Combs Detention Center in Kankakee after serving time at an IDOC facility for their felony convictions. This occurred via a notification from IDOC at the request of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Starting in January 2020, IDOC stopped notifying federal authorities and instead allowed these individuals to be released immediately from the correctional facility into Illinois communities where they had been serving their sentence.

Rep. Meier added, “I encourage Governor Pritzker to reconsider this new policy to keep our communities safe. Otherwise, the state is basically handing non-citizen felons a get out of jail free card.”