Kankakee County plans to take ICE Detainee lawsuit ‘to Supreme Court’ following dismissal


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KANKAKEE – County officials say the dismissal of an ICE detainee lawsuit filed in McHenry County will be taken to appeals, all the way to the Supreme Court.

The lawsuit, filed on behalf of Kankakee and McHenry counties to stop the implementation of the Illinois Way Forward Act, passed in May, was dismissed by a judge this week.

The Illinois Way Forward Act abolishes holding ICE detainees in the State of Illinois by the first of next year.

“This decision will have absolutely no impact on these detainees being released. In fact, they will undoubtedly be transferred to other states, all the while forcing families of these detainees to travel much farther to visit their loved ones all due to typical partisan Illinois politics in Springfield. We have every intention of appealing the District Court’s decision,” said Kankakee County Sheriff Mike Downey.

Kankakee made about $4 million dollars annually holding around 120 detainees while McHenry made roughly twice that amount annually. Both counties have argued the Act violates the Supremacy Clause of the US Constitution, which prohibits states from interfering with the federal government’s exercise of its constitutional powers.

“While we are obviously disappointed in this first ruling, the Kankakee County Board will pursue this as far as we can, up to and including the US Supreme Court,” said Kankakee County Board Chairman Andy Wheeler. Thank you to the McHenry County State’s Attorney’s office for their hard work on this as we move forward.


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