Case shows unwillingness of Cook County to protect citizens
A Jordanian national with over one-dozen criminal convictions for felony sexual assault and unlawfully possessing a firearm was finally deported from the United States to Jordan by officers with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO), according to an ICE report on Friday.
The Jordanian national, Nassar Issa Ibrahim Nassar, came to the attention of ICE agents on Oct. 17, 2011, when he was arrested at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport while attempting to re-enter the country, according to ICE.
An examination of the 49-year-old’s fingerprints by U.S. Customs and Border Protection revealed an outstanding criminal warrant for assault and battery in Cook County, Ill.
Unfortunately, even after ICE agents issued an illegal alien detainer order on Nassar with the Cook County Sheriff’s jail, Cook County officials released Nassar from custody the day after his arrest. The city of Chicago, which is in Cook County, and the surrounding areas are know as “Sanctuaries” for illegal aliens.
Cook County passed a major immigrant rights ordinance to free suspected undocumented immigrants being held in jails throughout the county — including Chicago — on misdemeanor cases, despite federal requests to hold them for possible deportation.
Both Chicago and Cook County have passed sanctuary ordinances that prohibit local governments from directly cooperating with federal immigration agents and from turning away undocumented immigrants for services.
“The daily release of criminal aliens into the streets, rather than into ICE custody, demonstrates how dangerous the current Cook County ordinance is to public safety,” said ERO Chicago Field Office Director Ricardo Wong. “Due to the current ordinance barring local law enforcement from honoring ICE’s detainers, egregious criminals are released to continue their criminal activities and endanger innocent people. ICE will continue to raise these public safety concerns with Cook County.”
ICE’s Criminal Alien Program ultimately located and arrested Nassar more than 6 months later on May 9, 2012, at a Cook County residence. A federal immigration judge ordered Nassar removed from the country August 22, 2012, based upon his status as an alien convicted of two or more crimes of moral turpitude and as an alien convicted of a firearms offense.
Nassar was removed on a charter flight from Alexandria, La. to New York via ICE Air Operations (IAO). From there, officers escorted Nassar to Jordan via commercial aircraft. Since 2006, the IAO, headquartered in Kansas City, Mo., has supported ERO by providing mass air transportation and removal coordination services to ERO field offices nationwide.
In FY 2012 ERO removed 409,849 individuals. Of those, approximately 55 percent, or 225,390 of the people removed, were convicted of felonies or misdemeanors – almost double the removal of criminals in FY 2008, according to ICE officials.
This includes 1,215 aliens convicted of homicide; 5,557 aliens convicted of sexual offenses; 40,448 aliens convicted for crimes involving drugs; and 36,166 aliens convicted for driving under the influence. Approximately 96 percent of ICE’s removals in FY 2012 fell into one of the agency’s priority categories – a record high.