- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Sen. Richard J. Durbin said Wednesday that Chicago’s sanctuary city policy isn’t about protecting illegal immigrants, but rather a matter of poverty. The city doesn’t have enough money to turn over illegal immigrants to federal authorities.

“Come on Uncle Sam, where’s the money?” Mr. Durbin, Illinois Democrat, said in a hearing called to look at gangs’ prevalence among illegal immigrants.

He insisted that Chicago and Cook County are eager to keep serious criminals and other gang members out of their communities but said it’s up to the federal government to fund the training he said local authorities need.

“Please help us. Send us some resources,” Mr. Durbin said.

Federal officials, though, said they are not looking for locals to do the job, but rather to allow federal officers into their facilities and to share information about inmate releases.



“We’re asking for their cooperation,” said Matthew Albence, executive associate director of enforcement and removal operations at U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Mr. Albence singled out the Chicago area as one of the most prominent sanctuaries.

“Chicago is a large one. We haven’t been able to get into the Cook County Jail for a long time,” he said.

He also named New York City and San Francisco as top sanctuary cities.

The conversation sprang from questioning by Sen. John Kennedy, Louisiana Republican, who asked about MS-13 and other gang members who are nabbed by local authorities in sanctuary cities.

“These are evil people. It’s pretty hard to miss them. There are tattoos all over their body,” Mr. Kennedy said. “If they’re arrested and they’re in a local jail, there are some cities in the United States that would prevent you from coming in and talking to them?”

“Correct,” Mr. Albence replied.

“We know who they are, we know they’re gang members, we know they’re criminals. But if the city, the county, doesn’t allow us to get into that jail … then they’re released back into the community,” he said.

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