ICE Slams Cook County, Illinois For Ignoring Detainers and Releasing More Than 1,000 Criminal Aliens in 2019

Brittany M. Hughes | January 13, 2020

Cook County, Illinois, an area already rife with crime including some of the highest rates of gun violence in the country, released more than 1,000 illegal aliens with criminal records back onto their streets in 2019 alone in direct opposition to federal immigration requests.

According to a statement from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Cook County, including its "sanctuary city" seat of Chicago, released 1,070 criminal aliens and immigration violators in FY2019 after ignoring immigration detainers issued by ICE.

Included among those released are:

  • Rokas Ablacinskas, a 22-year-old citizen of Lithuania, arrested for attempted murder, aggravated battery of a victim over the age of 60 and aggravated battery in a public place. 
  • Isidro Ramirez-Hernandez, a 52-year-old citizen of Mexico, arrested for aggravated domestic battery and strangulation.
  • Mahmoud Abu Maghli, a 27-year-old citizen of Jordan, arrested for recklessly discharging a firearm. 
  • Kennete Acevedo Ortiz, also known as Kennev Vasques-Rugama, a 28-year-old Nicaraguan national, was arrested at least three times including for driving under the influence and domestic violence.
  • Rasheed Abass, a 50-year-old South African national, arrested on two separate occasions for indecent exposure and for assault. 

In a statement, ICE officials slammed the “ill-conceived practices of sanctuary jurisdictions that put politics before public safety.”

“When law enforcement agencies fail to honor immigration detainers and release serious criminal offenders onto the streets, it undermines ICE’s ability to protect public safety and carry out its mission,” the agency said. “This negatively impacts public safety and ICE’s efficiency in the apprehension of criminal aliens. Federal immigration laws authorize DHS to issue detainers and provide ICE broad authority to detain removable aliens.”

“Any local jurisdiction thinking that refusing to cooperate with ICE will result in a decrease in local immigration enforcement is mistaken,” they continued. “Local jurisdictions that choose to not cooperate with ICE are likely to see an increase in ICE enforcement activity, as the agency has no choice but to conduct more at-large arrest operations. A consequence of ICE being forced to make more arrests on the streets, the agency is likely to encounter other unlawfully present foreign nationals who would not have been encountered had we been allowed to take custody of a criminal target within the confines of a local jail.” 

In an interview with Fox & Friends, former ICE Acting Director Thomas Homan called the county's actions "stupid."

"The violence in Chicago is unprecedented," he said. "You would think elected officials would want to do everything they can to make sure criminals are not on the streets. But, if you're an illegal alien, you're getting released to the street every day to re-offend."

"There is no justification," Homa added. "Releasing a public safety threat back into the public to re-offend when you can turn them over to ICE legally, that's just stupid."