Sheriff says 287(g) immigration enforcement will continue

Friday, September 18, 2009 at 12:59am

Sheriff Daron Hall is confident the 287(g) program will continue to be administered in Nashville, despite his contention that a revision — one which renders detainee records inaccessible absent a FOIA request — runs afoul of state law.

The 287(g) program, which was implemented in Nashville in April 2007, authorizes local law enforcement officers to enforce immigration law through a specific section of the Immigration and Nationality Act.

Hall met with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials this week to lobby for the Davidson County Sheriff’s Office to be allowed to release inmate records.

“It says we basically want to follow public records law in Tennessee,” he said. “What got misconstrued is that the federal government is tightening up on releasing its data. They’ve always been this way.”

Hall said he is awaiting word from Washington as to whether or not ICE will accept the city’s revisions.

“What got incredibly sensationalized is that the new (Memorandum of Agreement) changes the way we do business. Nothing would be changed a bit,” he said.

Where before 287(g) only allowed screening after the commission of felony offenses — though a number of widely publicized cases show the Sheriff’s Office didn’t strictly adhere to that particular provision — the changes in language to the MOA allow anyone charged with any offense to be screened.

In Nashville, inmates are screened for immigration violations only after they are booked on other charges.

The fact that ICE is considering modifying its language at all to keep Nashville in the program is a bit surprising to immigration attorney Linda Rose.

“Nashville sits among the top in aggressive administration of the 287(g) program. I think the feds want to put some limitation on it, because it’s eating up resources,” she said.

Rose sees the federal revision as well intentioned — because local implementation of the program often nets illegal immigrants who have committed no felonies — if a little clumsy in execution.

“I think in not releasing the information it would protect people who don’t deserve to be exposed in that way,” Rose said.

However, American Civil Liberties Union staff attorney Tricia Herzfeld sees a revision that will eliminate the transparency that was ensured by state open records law.

“Anytime you’ve got a program like this going on, the No. 1 way you want to monitor it is open records requests. You can’t effectively monitor it if that information is being closed off,” she said.

Records requests of this kind to the federal government, which less than a decade ago might have taken a month or so, now take a year or more.

“They took a bad thing and made it worse,” Herzfeld added.

Since the program's inception the Sheriff's Office has identified more than 6,000 illegal immigrants that have been processed for deportation.

Hall has said it has been an effective tool in deterring crimes committed by illegal immigrants, noting crime in that demographic is down 46 percent.


16 Comments on this post:

By: on 9/18/09 at 6:41

Not sure why Nashville jumped out there to be one of the first to do this anyway. Statistics can be manipulated to show things in different ways. Bottom line is that the Sheriff's Office has become an agent for the federal immigration authorities. Seems like there could be a better use of time and resources.

By: bfra on 9/18/09 at 7:49

With the hoard of hispanics here in Tennessee, Nashville needs Sheriff Hall and we need the 287(g) program in the worst way. Thank you Sheriff Hall and your deputies. Look around you taxpayer, I am sure they don't have to manipulate their statistics.

By: idgaf on 9/18/09 at 8:27

Daron Hall for Mayor, Governor or anything he wants.

He seems to be the only one looking out for our interests.

(beside Marsha Blackburn)

By: skeptic1 on 9/18/09 at 8:35

Thank you, Sheriff Hall, for standing up to the special interest groups (Chamber of Commerce, et al) and the immigrant gangs to enforce the 287(g) law. If the Department of Homeland Security was more competent and less corrupt (read their own Inspector General's report on $3B in no-bid contracts), we might have more secure borders.

I was reminded clearly of the ongoing immigrant problem just this morning. It was a very near miss when a Latino gentleman passed me in his car...going the wrong way on a one-way street (3rd Avenue in downtown Nashville). I cannot be sure of his immigration status, but in the past 10 years in Nashville I have been involved in 3 fender benders and 2 out of three involved Latino men with no driver's license or insurance hitting my car at a red light. What are the odds?

PS I don't think the answer is to give them special driving permits.

By: WayneJ on 9/18/09 at 9:12

I would ask taxpayer which he would prefer: (1) One of if not the only Metro Nashville operation that appears to be getting done what it has been asked to accomplish, or (2) letting what appears to be one of the most incompetent federal governments to ever come down the pike (although we've been trending downward for two decades) attempt to do that job instead. Kudos to Sheriff Hall for doing a much better job through his efforts to make Nashville a better place to live than Chief Serpas is doing with his vehicle-stopping RASREP (Ronal A. Serpas Revenue Enhancement Program).
287(g) should be enforced and the feds want no part of it we should do it at the local level. Again, kudos to our Sheriff for doing it the right way.

By: sidneyames on 9/18/09 at 9:48

iamataxpayer, you said "Not sure why Nashville jumped out there to be one of the first to do this anyway. Statistics can be manipulated to show things in different ways. Bottom line is that the Sheriff's Office has become an agent for the federal immigration authorities. Seems like there could be a better use of time and resources." And what better use of time and resources would that be? Oh, giving money to the illegals so they can thrive here? I like the program. It addresses the first and foremost concept that "illegal" is ILLEGAL and should be prosecuted and/or sent back to country of origin.

By: sidneyames on 9/18/09 at 9:50

by the way, taxpayer, North Carolina was the first to do this and it's working there also.

By: govskeptic on 9/18/09 at 11:37

Nashville was far from being the first for this program. It's
success here & elsewhere is bothering the feds to the
point they are starting to gut it by keeping all the info secret. If Nashville is holding an illegal wanted for say armed robbery or murder in another state why should that be kept from the other state?

Of course, we don't want anything on their record that
might keep them from getting all their rights & benefits.
Amenisty is near along with a fine for illegal entry(will be forgiven later)
and a health care program with taxpayer subsidy.

By: TharonChandler on 9/18/09 at 12:18

In Tahoe California any Mexican can set up an outdoor grill at one of the many vacant store-front and have a Restaurant. Down the street he can live like a King in a large house with many of his relatives. Yet a white male college graduate cannot even work at McDonalds nor find an affordable room to rent. There are fish from the lake to eat and plenty of 'Fuel' for a poor white man to cook them with but the government here would Cry "Fire" (even though they have been paid to eliminate the fuel danger), in order to protect their authority over the few local women left here (and the imported mexican tricks). The Mexican people deserve their pre-emminence in many places such as Southern California and all of Texas, and they deserve liberty after naturalization and/ or voter registration, yet we need an 'immigration policy' that will allow a good and capable white man to work and to compete fairly for women. Is 287g an appropriate immigration policy, or rather a rascist law-enforcement tactic?

By: Dragon on 9/18/09 at 1:19

Does anyone know the status of SCAAP (State Criminal Alien Assistance Program) for next year? Last I saw, Obama was recommending it goes to zero. This is money the Feds pay to help the states keep the illegal criminals locked up.

By: bfra on 9/18/09 at 2:38

Tharon - What book are you reading? The Tahoe I visit regularly is nothing like that, nor are any of the surrounding towns. Southern CA doesn't fit your discription in any form either.

By: sidneyames on 9/18/09 at 5:32

go on line and hear Obama say this: President Obama said this week that his health care plan won't cover illegal immigrants, but argued that's all the more reason to legalize them and ensure they eventually do get coverage

BUT he also said in the same speech we need to legalize 12 MILLION undocumented workers. That's the new term for illegal now.

So if he legalizes them, he won't have to pay the states to keep them locked up.

By: TharonChandler on 9/18/09 at 5:39

bfra, Obviously you are a mexican, and that if fine because i like Mexicans.

By: bfra on 9/19/09 at 12:50

Tharon - That is another error you made! You should spend more time traveling and less time guessing. I like Mexicans just fine if they are legal, the illegal leeches that we have so many of, are just that "leeches".

By: take_action on 9/19/09 at 2:29


By: idgaf on 9/20/09 at 5:10

If you look at the birth rates in Ca it is beyond illegal immigration it is a full scale invasion.