Governor Pat Quinn quietly announced Illinois’ formal withdrawal from Secure Communities in a letter to the Department of Homeland Security. This program, administered through Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), is fully successful only when state prison systems cooperate with the ICE and the Department of Home land Security. States can choose to participate by enabling discovery of the residency status of convicts held in state prisons and alerting ICE of upcoming convict release dates. According to ICE, this program targets the “worst of the worst”, ensuring that these offenders no longer remain in the United States following their release from prison.
According to the FBI, Illinois ranks near the top in violent crime–number 14 out of the fifty states. Now instead of ensuring deportation of violent criminals, the governor is choosing to release them into Illinois communities. Such a policy may also serve to attract more criminals to this state as the risk of deportation following a conviction in Illinois is now significantly reduced.
Not only has Governor Quinn made life more expensive for middle class citizens with an enormous income tax hike, this new policy will make life less safe in Illinois as well.