As the Trump Administration continues to attack and threaten America’s immigrant communities with ICE raids, the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office (SAO) is strengthening its efforts to build trust and ensure equitable outcomes for non-citizen defendants in the criminal justice system. State’s Attorney Kimberly Foxx has hired the office’s first Immigration Policy & Legal Advisor, Michael Kasprzynski, who will work to ensure that immigrant communities feel safe to report crime and cooperate with law enforcement, without fear of retribution. The Advisor will also work to ensure that non-citizen defendants do not face unnecessary immigration consequences in Cook County, particularly for misdemeanor and low-level offenses.
“The Trump Administration’s deliberate and unjust targeting of immigrant communities has created an environment of intimidation where victims and witnesses are afraid to come forward and speak with law enforcement. This fear-mongering jeopardizes our ability to keep communities safe,” said Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx. “We can prioritize public safety while at the same time remaining thoughtful in our work with non-citizen defendants. As prosecutors, we must ensure that the decisions we make do not cause unnecessary harm, and I am proud to expand our work on behalf of these vulnerable communities.”
“Under U.S. immigration law, certain convictions or sentences—even for minor nonviolent crimes—can lead to an individual being deported and permanently separated from their community and family. In some cases, it can result in people being returned to countries where their lives are in danger. The NIJC works to mitigate these harms and we are glad that the Cook County State’s Attorney is taking steps to ensure these consequences are taken into account when prosecution and sentencing decisions are made,” said Diana Rashid of Heartland Alliance’s National Immigrant Justice Center.
As the SAO’s Immigration Policy & Legal Advisor, Kasprzynski will help craft the office’s policies around cases with disproportionate, collateral consequences for non-citizen defendants in ways that promote public safety and work to achieve just outcomes. In addition to consulting on cases and conducting trainings, the advisor will work with members of the immigrant community to build and restore trust in the criminal justice system.
Prior to joining the State’s Attorney’s Office, Kasprzynski served as an immigration attorney in private practice. He has represented clients in various capacities before the Department of Justice, Department of Homeland Security, and Department of State. As a litigator, he specialized in matters of deportation, immigrant and nonimmigrant visas, and conducted Know-Your-Rights presentations. In his role as Immigration Policy & Legal Advisor, Kasprzynski joins the State’s Attorney’s policy team which includes a Sex and Gender-Based Violence Policy Advisor, Juvenile Policy Advisor, and Diversion Policy Advisor, each of which are the first of their kind in the State’s Attorney’s Office.