55 gang members face deportation
WAUKEGAN | But sweep not part of federal enforcement:
cop


August 29, 2007
Operation Lake County Gang Search 2007 has been under
way since Sunday in Waukegan, coming in the wake of
last month's major immigration rights rally and the
decision by police to apply for special training to
deport violent criminals.

"This is not part of 287(g)," Waukegan Police Chief
Bill Biang said, referring to the federal enforcement
authorization. "It could be as long as two years
before we even get that program in place. We do these
type of big roundups all the time."

"This is not part of 287(g)," Waukegan Police Chief
Bill Biang said, referring to the federal enforcement
authorization. "It could be as long as two years
before we even get that program in place. We do these
type of big roundups all the time."

Biang said Tuesday that Waukegan -- along with
Libertyville, Mundelein, the Lake County Sheriff's
Office and other area police departments -- has 10
officers out looking for 96 known gang members with
deportation warrants from the Immigration and Customs
Enforcement Agency.

» Click to enlarge image

During a Waukegan city council meeting last month,
Mayor Richard Hyde listens as Jose Guvman protests
287(g), which would let local police enforce
immigration laws.
(Andre J. Jackson/STNG file)

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Biang said Tuesday that Waukegan -- along with
Libertyville, Mundelein, the Lake County Sheriff's
Office and other area police departments -- has 10
officers out looking for 96 known gang members with
deportation warrants from the Immigration and Customs
Enforcement Agency.

"So far we've picked up 55 across Lake County and
about 21 in Waukegan alone," said Biang, who
emphasized that the criminals are not exclusively
illegal immigrants. "We're using ICE's assistance and
authority to remove these gang members. Whether they
are here legally or not, they are eligible for
deportation."

ICE spokeswoman Gail Montenegro confirmed the
initiative and said several similar operations, to
arrest sex offenders or fugitives, for instance, have
routinely been undertaken in Lake County.

Tensions boiled over last month in Waukegan, where the
population is over 50 percent Hispanic, when community
leaders protested the city council's decision to apply
for training from ICE in order to facilitate
deportation of convicted violent criminals. Mayor
Richard Hyde entered into an agreement with local
Hispanic organizations promising not to use the
authority for traffic offenders or non-violent
criminals.

"We don't do the big roundups everyday, but it shows
that if we had the ability to work with the 287(g)
process we wouldn't have to do these large roundups
and there wouldn't be 96 offenders loose on the
street," Biang said.