Guest Column: Democrats have seriously endangered Illinois

Rep. Parkhurst speaking at Feb 25 Press Conference with law enforcement and legislative colleagues

The following Guest Column is authored by Rep. Lindsay Parkhurst and originally published by the Kankakee Daily Journal.

Without any fanfare, beginning in 2020, the Illinois Department of Corrections (IDOC), part of the executive branch of government under the governor’s control, placed the rights of illegal felons over the safety of Illinoisans. Like many Illinoisans, I support legal immigration and amnesty in many cases, but is this really what we want Illinois to become? A haven for illegal violent convicted criminal felons?

When Illinois passed the Illinois Trust Act in 2017, the General Assembly did not intend Illinois agencies to completely cut their ties with federal immigration enforcement agencies, ICE. Illinois Democrats have seriously endangered Illinois by going far beyond the intention of the trust act. Instead, the Illinois Democrats are pushing and promoting a socialist, Democratic agenda, which jeopardizes the safety and security of Illinoisans.

Immigration policy is hotly contested in Washington and states across this great union. However, we can all agree illegal aliens who commit violent crimes should not stay here. In 2019, 223 illegal felons were released from Illinois prisons, but were detained and deported by ICE. Of the 223 illegal felons, 26 were murder, 76 sexual crimes — 19 predatory sexual assaults, 12 sexual abuse with a victim under 13, 1 rape with victim under 17, 3 child porn under 13 — and more — 60 drug crimes, 33 weapons crimes, 17 battery/domestic battery-one of which involved a minor under 13 who is permanently disabled — 45 crimes against property, 55 DUIs (4th conviction or more, some involving death) and 34 other crimes including animal torture.

Starting in 2020, IDOC is refusing to honor current ICE detainers and all illegal alien felons will no longer be held for ICE deportation, but will be released directly into communities across Illinois. Further, under this new directive, ICE is no longer allowed to screen newly admitted prisoners and now ICE does not have the ability to identify, follow or place a detainer hold on illegal alien convicted criminal felons who enter Illinois prisons. As a result, illegal alien violent convicted criminal felons will walk our streets after being released into our communities. This is not “progressive.” It is dangerous. It is wrong. It denigrates the rights of Illinois citizens and law-abiding legal immigrants.