Illinois state Rep. Dan Ugaste (R-Geneva) on the House floor | repugaste.com
Veteran state Rep. Dan Ugaste (R-Geneva) fails to see the logic in Gov. J.B. Pritzker moving to enact a policy that allows violent felons facing deportation to be released into communities instead of turned over to ICE officials.
“I think it is dangerous to those communities, especially when you consider what some of these people were serving time for,” Ugaste told the McHenry Times. “I could understand it if they were legal citizens. We run enough of a risk releasing some of those people back in the community. I think if you want to change a law like that you need to do it at the federal level.”
Ugaste isn’t alone in blasting the policy, which members of the Illinois Sheriff’s Association have equated to giving ex-inmates a "head start to evade federal law."
Before the change, whenever convicted felons here illegally were set to be released ICE authorities were contacted after they had served their time.
According to the Dispatch-Argus, 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.
Ugaste said that isn’t enough to allay his concerns.
“I would like to see guidelines established where the state notifies federal authorities in all situations like this and lets them decide what is best thing to do,” he said. “I think that would be in everyone’s best interest and the safest way to do things.”
In 2019, of the 223 immigrants transferred from Pontiac Correctional Facility 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, according to Dispatch-Argus.