Tuesday, September 5, 2006

Local lawmen petition feds for more immigration data, cooperation

The Tennessean and the Nashville City Paper report today that local law enforcement officials have proposed a partnership with the federal government to identify and hold underground expatriates* who are in local custody for criminal activity. If the proposal is accepted, the federal government would provide information and additional manpower, and in some cases, handle deportation.

The Tennessean story reports that "[b]y installing a federal immigration computer system in the Metro Jail and placing an immigration officer in the lockup full time, local authorities would be able to quickly identify criminal suspects who are in the country illegally and keep them from being released."

"[Davidson County Sheriff Daron] Hall is scheduled to hold a news conference today along with Metro police Chief Ronal Serpas and District Attorney General Torry Johnson to announce the initiative. Local officials are awaiting approval from federal immigration authorities and are trying to enlist the help of Tennessee's congressional delegation."

"The initiative comes as the number of foreign-born people booked into Metro Jail each year continues to soar. The 4,173 foreign-born prisoners who moved through the Nashville lockup during the past fiscal year are nearly double the number booked five years ago, county figures show."

The City Paper article states that "the federal government placed immigration holds on only 151 — 3.6 percent — of them, according to Hall’s office."

Both the Tennessean article and the City Paper article mention a similar program's implementation in Charlotte, North Carolina.

In August, FOXNews reported in this article that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security would make immigration data more available to local governments. The announcement was made at the annual meeting of the National Conference of State Legislatures, which was held in Nashville in August.

*"Underground expatriates" is a neologism and one of many phrases, including the phrase "illegal immigrants," that are used on this site to identify citizens of other countries who have not been told by the U.S. government that they can legally visit, work or live here. This proposed guideline on Wikipedia is an interesting resource on how different groups support the usage of different terms to identify these foreign citizens. The current policy of the Hispanic Nashville Notebook is not to settle on any one term.

Focus: Justice

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