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Immigration protest, vigil planned Sunday outside McHenry County Jail in Woodstock

Residents protest the separation of immigrant children from their parents during a Families Belong Together rally and demonstration Sunday on the Woodstock Square.
Residents protest the separation of immigrant children from their parents during a Families Belong Together rally and demonstration Sunday on the Woodstock Square.

About 200 protesters are expected to gather Sunday evening outside the McHenry County Jail during a vigil for families affected by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

The vigil will be from 8 to 10 p.m. at 2200 N. Seminary Ave., Woodstock, and include speakers such as U.S. 5th District House candidate Sameena Mustafa. Attendees should check the event’s Facebook page for updates on possible weather interference.

Protesters also are advised to bring their own candles, flowers and a letter for McHenry County Board Chairman Jack Franks, organizer Jill Manrique said.

“I don’t think that our local municipalities or local counties should be working with ICE,” she said.

An agreement with the U.S. Marshals Service allows McHenry County to charge $95 a day for housing immigration detainees. The county also is compensated $46 an hour for transporting federal inmates. Between January 2016 and September 2017, the jail earned $14,570,699 from the agreement, invoices show.

The county’s contract with ICE has resulted in several lawsuits against Sheriff Bill Prim. The suits, which since have been dismissed, accused Prim of illegally detaining people in violation of the Trust Act, which bars police from searching, arresting or detaining a person simply because of their immigration status.

Prim previously told the Northwest Herald that no migrant children or families would be housed at the McHenry County Jail. The sheriff could not be reached for comment Friday.

Reports documenting the separation of immigrant families at the nation’s border touch a nerve with Manrique, who is reminded of her own family’s immigration experiences.

“What they should expect is an emotional couple of hours, and when they’re leaving, know that your work isn’t done, and it won’t be done until our federal government is done separating families,” Manrique said.

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