When undocumented immigrants in Chicago face legal troubles -- even very minor criminal issues -- they often wind up encountering an additional set of challenges. In many cases, these individuals are detained by law enforcement officials and face a series of immigration hearings, which could ultimately result in deportation.

A recently released report from the National Immigrant Justice Center rates the Tri-County Illinois immigrant detention center as one of the ten worst in the nation. These concerns have not just resonated within the immigrant community, but have also reached the attention of one U.S. senator who has ordered an investigation into the center, which is located in the southern part of the state.

The Tri-County facility is owned by a private company contracted by Immigrations and Customs Enforcement. Throughout the nation, ICE works with private companies, federal prisons and county jails to keep those being detained for immigration issues behind bars.

According to one man who was held in the facility for over a year, the conditions are like a "zoo." The detainees are often treated poorly and have very limited access to legal counsel. Since the facility is located so far away from the Chicago or other population centers, the immigrants often do not have access to the resources they need to resolve pressing issues.

As anyone who has spent time in a detention center knows, it can be a scary and confusing time to be isolated and without legal representation. Even a minor traffic violation can lead to an individual being detained by immigration officials. For those in this position, it is important to understand what rights they have as they face the possibility of being permanently removed from their Illinois communities.

Source: Medill Reports, "Illinois immigrant prison named one of 10 worst in U.S., report says," Tara Kadioglu, Nov. 29, 2012

  • Our firm has experience helping individuals understand their options when they are detained. To learn more about preventing deportation, please visit our Chicago immigration page.