Immigrants' Rights Clinic Filed Motion Demanding Release of Chicago Immigrant

Activists demand the release of a Chicago immigrant being held at the Will County jail

A 30-year-old Chicago immigrant is being held at the Will County jail without charge because he is a material witness to a fatal car crash, according to an emergency petition filed this month with the Will County Circuit Court.

Norberto Navarro witnessed a 2017 car crash that killed a pregnant woman and her three children. Navarro tried, but he was unable to save them. Months later, Will County State’s Attorney James Glasgow charged Sean Woulfe with reckless homicide. Woulfe posted bond. He is free and awaiting trial. Navarro has agreed to testify for the prosecution in its case against Woulfe. Lawyers for Navarro contend that Will County is illegally holding him, until he testifies in that case, on an agreement with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

Navarro struggled to cope with the trauma of the car crash, according to his mother, Aida Navarro. Afterwards, he had difficulty sleeping. He’d wake up screaming from dreams in which he tried to save the woman. In 2019, Navarro was sentenced to 40 months in prison following a drug charge. Navarro completed his prison sentence in January, but instead of releasing him, federal officials transferred him to the Will County Adult Detention Facility to serve as a material witness in the fatal car crash case.

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