Crime & Courts

Trust Act put to the test for 2nd McHenry County family

WOODSTOCK – At least two men with immigration holds have not been released from the McHenry County Jail in the past week, even after posting bail.

When Susana Garcia Velasco and her mother, Cristina Velasco, went to the McHenry County Jail to post bond for a loved one Thursday, they were told immigration officials would be immediately contacted once bond was posted.

Cristina Velasco’s partner, Pascasio Martinez, a 34-year-old man from Crystal Lake, was arrested Aug. 31 on a felony aggravated driving under the influence charge and misdemeanor DUI charges.

He has been in custody since his arrest on the charges and an immigration hold.

Gov. Bruce Rauner signed the Trust Act on Aug. 28, a measure prohibiting local and state police from searching, arresting or detaining a person simply because of their immigration status.

Despite this law, McHenry County families have been told their loved ones would be deported if they posted bond.

Velasco, 41, and Pascasio Martinez have been together for two years, but they have known each other for many more.

Velasco said her partner has been in the U.S. for 15 or 16 years and has worked as a cook.

She said the two support each other financially, and because he is in jail, she has had to work double shifts to support herself.

When they first tried to post bond for Pascasio Martinez on Aug. 31, they were told by a correctional officer he would not be getting out because he had an immigration hold.

After becoming aware of similar cases to theirs, they contacted McHenry County law firm KRV Legal and tried to post bond again Thursday.

17-year-old Melissa Macedo tried to post bond for her father, Niceforo Macedo-Hernandez, for most of the day Sept. 1. Once she finally was able to, she was told her father would not be released. He has since been taken into U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement custody and placed in a detention facility in Juneau, Wisconsin.

Susana Garcia Velasco, 20, and her mother, both of Crystal Lake, arrived at the McHenry County Jail around 9 a.m. Friday and asked to post Pascasio Martinez’s bond.

“I came to post bond for Pascasio Martinez,” Susana Garcia Velasco said to the intercom in the lobby of the jail.

“Alrighty hold on,” a voice said, and they waited for several minutes.

“You know his bond is $2,528 and he has an immigration hold,” the correctional officer said.

“Yes,” Susana Garcia Velasco said.

“And you still want to pay?” the correctional officer said in response.

Garcia Velasco told the officer she did, and they waited for awhile after that. Once a correctional officer came to the window, he told the two women he was waiting for a response from ICE to see whether they had to continue detaining him.

He said if ICE officials said he could be released, then they would release him; otherwise, immigration officials would serve Pascasio Martinez a warrant.

The correctional officer said this was a “fairly recent” word-of-mouth policy that has been put in place. Immigration agent Raymond Hernandez also was present for part of the conversation between the two women and the correctional officer.

When asked further about the policy, the correctional officer declined to say anything.

Sheriff Bill Prim was not available for comment.

Bail eventually was posted, but Pascasio Martinez was not released. Defense lawyer George Kililis was informed Friday that his client had been taken into ICE custody overnight, but has not been told where he has been taken.

Susana Garcia Velasco said she believed what was going on was “ridiculous and unjust.”

Kililis filed an emergency motion Friday asking that his client be released pursuant to the Trust Act, and Judge Sharon Prather said she did not have the authority to order the sheriff to do that.

Prather said that although there are problems that need to be solved, it would have to be done through a civil avenue because the problem lies with the sheriff’s office, and they are not involved in the criminal case.

State’s Attorney Patrick Kenneally also believed the problem needed to be taken up in civil court and said the point was moot because the defendant already had been taken into ICE custody.

Kililis said he planned to pursue civil remedies and will appeal Prather’s decision.

He also plans to file a writ of habeas corpus to get his client back to the McHenry County Jail.

Martinez’s next court date is Monday.

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