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  1. #1
    Senior Member JohnDoe2's Avatar
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    Sheriff Says 287(g) Immigration Policy Imminent for Knox County

    Sheriff Says 287(g) Immigration Policy Imminent for Knox County



    Despite the fact that Davidson County ended its controversial 287(g) immigration policy last fall after five years of sensational arrests, Knox County Sheriff J.J. Jones says he’s ready to get the same program started in Knox County.
    More than a year after Knox County residents first requested a meeting to discuss the community’s concerns about the 287(g) policy, Jones finally met them face-to-face to give some answers at a forum hosted by Knox County Commissioner Amy Broyles at the Knox County Health Department’s auditorium last Tuesday night. The crowd of about 60 people who gathered to press him and two deputies on why Knox County needs 287(g) repeatedly brought up the abuse of undocumented immigrants in Nashville that stemmed from Davidson County’s utilization of the program. The biggest concerns were racial profiling, arrest and deportation due to minor offenses, and the climate of fear many are sure the policy will create among Knox County’s immigrant communities.
    “I hear your concerns,” Jones said many times throughout the night. “[But] I have to make the decisions for Knox County [sheriff’s department].”
    He said he expects to sign the 287(g) memorandum of understanding within the next few weeks after technical agreements on matters such as transportation of detainees are ironed out.
    Broyles put the community meeting together herself after finding out when Jones, Director of Corrections Rodney Bivens, and Capt. Terry Wilshire—who will become the coordinator of the 287(g) program—could all meet and listen to community input. She has been aware of the county’s immigrant community’s opposition to the 287(g) policy, which involves training sheriff’s deputies to essentially become U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers (they’ll have the credentials after training), and allows them to issue detainers on anyone who is found to be an undocumented immigrant. Detainers are notices from ICE typically sent to local law-enforcement agencies that they intend to pick up and gain custody of an individual found to be a known undocumented immigrant. That usually starts the deportation process. Under 287(g), Knox County sheriff’s deputies would be able to issue detainers themselves (as ICE agents).
    “There’s a lot more leeway with this program,” Jones said, explaining that deportation is not going to be the end result for every undocumented immigrant who finds him- or herself in the county jail, especially if he or she has no prior arrests or warrants. “This program is supposed to keep people on the right track.”
    Wilshire also emphasized that the policy will make Knox County a much safer place when sheriff’s deputies have the power to detain undocumented immigrants with criminal backgrounds, and invoked the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. He implied the terrorists had come to the U.S. illegally and committed crimes while here—but, in fact, they all had visas, and only Zacarias Moussaoui was arrested prior to the attacks for immigration violations.
    “Look at 9/11. When folks come to this country illegally, sometimes they’re hiding their identities. This gives us more tools to identify folks. Someone may come in with a simple misdemeanor, and once they go through this program, they may be found to be wanted for a lot more than a simple misdemeanor. This gives us a lot more tools to identify those folks that may be doing harm to the community,” he said.
    That statement seems to fly in the face of a recent study published by the American Civil Liberties Union, which examined the effects of 287(g) in Davidson County. There, the study found, more people who were arrested for minor crimes such as traffic infractions were deported than people who were arrested for felonies. One of the most widely publicized account of such an arrest involved a pregnant woman who went into labor after being arrested for driving without a license (an offense that usually earns a citation), and gave birth shackled to a hospital bed against doctors’ orders.
    Soon-to-be-former ICE Director John Morton (he’s stepping down from his post this month) had advised the Obama Administration and his organization to prioritize the deportation of criminal and dangerous undocumented immigrants. He even issued a series of memos (referred to as the “Morton Memos”) in 2011 that effectively set new guidelines for ICE agents to follow, including prioritizing dangerous criminals over immigrants with minor traffic infractions, and not pursing deportation of victims of crimes. This was before President Obama’s executive order giving immigrants under the age of 30 a path to legal status. The ACLU study indicates that 287(g) worked too well, and wound up encouraging officers (both sheriff’s deputies and Metro Nashville Police Department officers, who had no involvement in 287(g)) to profile people based on race in order to get them deported.
    “Evidence indicates that the Sheriff’s 287(g) agreement motivated some local police officers a) to stop perceived foreign-born people for minor infractions or pretextual stops and b) to arrest rather than issue citations to those individuals because of their racial or ethnic characteristics, thus facilitating their screening through the ICE database once they were in the Sheriff’s custody,” the study found. In fact, the percentage of people deported after being arrested solely for driving without a license went from 18 percent of arrests on the charge to 43 percent between 2005 and 2010.
    The ACLU study also cited a survey of Latino Nashville residents done in 2008 by the National Council of La Raza and the Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition, which found that 42 percent of Latinos knew of a crime that occurred that wasn’t reported to police because of the fear of deportation. The same survey found that 54 percent of Latinos would not call police if a crime happened in the future.
    “When people fear interactions with the police, crimes go unreported, the entire population feels the impact, and the community becomes less safe,” the study says.
    Jones had apparently not read the ACLU study cited repeatedly by attendees at the forum, including assistant public defender Maya Sheppard, who works in the misdemeanors division of the Knox County Public Defenders office.
    “I see a lot of cases in misdemeanor court for driving without a license. The majority of those cases, I would say, are Latino folks from the community. I see already that a lot of police are making arrests rather than issuing citations for driving without a valid license,” she told Jones. She cited the figures in the ACLU report that found that almost 80 percent of all the arrests of undocumented immigrants were for low-level misdemeanors. “How are you to assure that now, with the awareness that this program is going on, that police in the region are not going to make more arrests based on driving without a license?”
    Wilshire responded that many more people are processed through the 287(g) program than are deported, but didn’t offer any numbers or statistics.
    Jones was adamant that no one would be driving around looking for people who look like they might be undocumented.
    “It is not a law enforcement entity that goes out into the community,” he said. “If you are a law-abiding citizen, you will never know 287(g) exists.”
    He went on to point out that since corrections officers wouldn’t need to keep people in jail to wait for ICE approval from another city, undocumented immigrants would be able to pay a bond to get out of jail, and make an appearance at ICE court at a later date. Currently, people without documentation are picked up by ICE agents and taken to courts in Louisiana or Alabama. (There are no ICE detention facilities in Tennessee.)
    But several people made the comment that racial profiling already happens. Carl Wheeler, who is African American, said he has been a victim of racial profiling himself. His son and his son’s friend have also been stopped by police as they entered Wheeler’s house, he said. Wheeler asked the sheriff what policies would be implemented to prevent racial profiling under 287(g).
    “I think the [existing] policies work,” Jones said, adding that even though people were saying racial profiling happens, they couldn’t bring specific instances.
    Wheeler still believes racial profiling happens in Knox County.
    “Rampant is a strong word,” he said. “But it’s an accurate word.”
    Jones said he wants Knox County residents to bring reports of racial profiling if it ever happens, and that he will not tolerate it from his deputies.
    “This is a chance for us to get it right,” Jones said repeatedly about adopting the policy.
    None of the immigrants or advocates who attended the forum seemed to believe 287(g) will improve the county’s safety, especially with evidence pointing to the distrust of law enforcement by undocumented immigrants in the ACLU study.
    Lourdes Garza, the director of Hispanic Ministries for the Diocese of Knoxville, told the sheriff she sees that fear and distrust in action among the people she works with.
    “There’s already a climate of fear that you don’t see,” she told Jones. “This is adding more to it.”
    http://www.metropulse.com/news/2013/jul/10/sheriff-says-287g-immigration-policy-imminent-knox/
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    Senior Member JohnDoe2's Avatar
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    ICE: Knox Co. Sheriff's Office 287(g) application denied

    5:27 PM, Aug 20, 2013



    Jennifer Meckles

    (WBIR - Knoxville) Knox County will not be implementing a controversial program designed to identify people who commit crimes and are in the country illegally.

    U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Public Affairs Officer Bryan D. Cox confirmed to 10News Knox County's application has been denied.

    KCSO spokeswoman Martha Dooley said the Sheriff's Office has not yet received any official notification from ICE.

    Sheriff J.J. Jones released this statement by email Tuesday afternoon:
    "As of this time, we have not received any information from ICE concerning the 287(g) program. It would be inappropriate for me to comment on this matter until such time I received confirmation or denial from an appropriate official. It is unfortunate that we have received numerous media requests asking for comments regarding the denial of the program when we have received no official communication from the agency."

    Community members have held several public meetings expressing their opposition to the program.

    Stay with 10News and wbir.com for the lastest on this story.

    http://www.wbir.com/news/article/285277/2/ICE-Knox-Co-Sheriffs-Office-287g-application-denied
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    Administrator Jean's Avatar
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    Defiant Knox sheriff to stack illegal immigrant violators 'like cordwood' in jail

    By News Sentinel staff
    Posted August 21, 2013 at 12:27 p.m., updated August 21, 2013 at 1:28 p.m.

    KNOXVILLE — Knox County Sheriff Jimmy “J.J.” Jones on Wednesday denounced “an inept administration” that has declined his proposal to train local officers on enforcing federal immigration laws.

    “Once again, the federal government has used sequestration as a smokescreen to shirk its responsibilities for providing safety and security to its citizens by denying Knox County the 287(g) corrections model,” Jones said in a statement.

    “An inept administration is clearing the way for law breaking illegal immigrants to continue to thrive in our community and ultimately be allowed to reside in the United States.

    “Hopefully, the denial of this program will not create an influx of illegal immigrants who think that without this program they will be able to break the law and then be less likely to be deported.

    The sheriff said “the vast majority of Knox County citizens feel as I do” about illegal immigration and he will continue to pursue implementation of the 287(g) program.

    “I will continue to enforce these federal immigration violations with or without the help of U.S Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE),” Jones said.

    “If need be, I will stack these violators like cordwood in the Knox County Jail until the appropriate federal agency responds.”

    Jones was responding to a letter from an ICE official stating the agency will not train a special Knox County Sheriff’s Office unit on how to enforce immigration laws. The local officers basically would be deputized as federal officers for the purpose of enforcing immigration laws.

    Local immigrant rights advocates declared victory on word this week that the application by the Knox County Sheriff’s Office to the controversial 287(g) immigration enforcement program has been rejected by federal officials.

    U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Executive Associate Director Thomas D. Homan attributes the decision to budgetary constraints in a letter to Knox County


    Sheriff Jimmy “J.J.” Jones.

    “Due to resource concerns, including the impacts of sequestration, ICE is limiting 287(g) participation to those law enforcement agencies with existing (memorandums of agreement,)” reads the letter, obtained by News Sentinel.

    ICE spokesman Bryan Cox, who confirmed the authenticity of the undated letter Tuesday, emphasized that rather than singling out the Knox County Sheriff’s Office, the agency has chosen to not expand the program to any new applicants for the time being.

    The program, which trains and authorizes local police to enforce federal immigration laws, currently includes partnerships with 36 state and local agencies among 19 states.

    The initiative is intended to catch and deport felony offenders who are illegally in the U.S. Yet it has garnered national attention for the number of undocumented immigrants ensnared for minor offenses such as driving without a license. The effect, critics contend, separates families and furthers immigrant communities’ distrust of police.

    “It completely destroys the relationship between the immigrant communities and law enforcement,” said Alejandro Guizar, spokesman for Comite Popular de Knoxville.

    Comite and other local grass roots groups including Allies of Knoxville’s Immigrant Neighbors have staged a series of increasingly high-profile public demonstrations over the past 15 months as Jones refused their repeated requests for a meeting to discuss the application.

    “This is a victory, but the work doesn’t stop,” Guizar said.

    Local efforts in support of a comprehensive federal immigration reform bill should take center stage now, he said, such as a downtown rally earlier this month outside Knoxville office of U.S. Rep. John J. Duncan Jr., R-Tenn.

    The Knox County Sheriff’s Office continues to participate in ICE’s Secure Communities program, which forwards fingerprints from local arrests to ICE for comparison with prints in federal databases in the search for criminal undocumented immigrants.

    In its fiscal year 2013 budget brief, the Department of Homeland Security, notes that funding has been reduced for ICE’s 287(g) program as Secure Communities has proved more cost-effective than the “officer-focused 287(g) model.”

    http://www.knoxnews.com/news/2013/au...al-immigrants/
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