Monday, October 19, 2009

Tim Chavez v. 287(g): excerpts from his opposition

The late Tim Chavez

Former Tennessean columnist and blogger Tim Chavez, whose passing on June 18, 2009 was mourned by Nashvillians across the political spectrum, was a vigorous opponent of 287(g), which is up for a vote in the Metro Council on Tuesday (Resolution 2009-997) and will be heard before the Public Safety committee on Monday at 6pm.

287(g) is a section of federal immigration law that allows local law enforcement to screen for immigration violations in partnership with federal immigration authorities. Local and state governments have to opt in to participate, and different levels of local approval have to be given in order for the program to be put in place. In Nashville, the Sheriff has to sign an agreement with Washington, and the Metro Council has to approve that agreement. The Metro approval is the vote scheduled for committee review on Monday and Council vote on Tuesday.

Chavez used his Political Salsa blog to register his opposition to the implementation of 287(g) in Nashville. Excerpts from 2008 are below, with links to the related posts.

"Gross dysfunction of the sheriff's advisory board"

The gross dysfunction of the sheriff's advisory board was well known before Ozment's public comment on a TV program. Gregg Ramos, a Nashville attorney and chairman of Catholic Charities for the Dioicese of Nashville, has said that the sheriff does not even listen to board members. And Hall did not invite members of the board to his political dog and pony show earlier this year touting the success of the program in mistreating undocumented human beings. September 3, 2008

"Where is their sense of decency?"

Sheriff Daron Hall made a big mistake in bringing 287g here and grossly misleading the public on its true intent for personal political gain. Mayor Karl Dean and Congressman Jim Cooper deserve rebuke for their silence over the outrage of 287g and the torture of Mrs. Villegas, not to mention her newborn son.

Where is their sense of decency? Where are their loyalities to the progressive people who put them in office? Where are the voices of the progressive people who put them in office? Or maybe "progressive" is not what I believe it means? These three elected officials also are Democrats, or what passes for one in the South. August 6, 2008

"Destroying hard-working families"

But from the victims of public policy in Hispanic families in the Nashville area where I live, I can tell you that all Hispanics -- legal or not -- are being painted with the same intolerant brush. The 287g program is destroying hard-working families. I have the personal stories to prove that point, not the backside-covering rhetoric of empty ideological words. June 30, 2008

"The police are not at fault here"

When the undocumented workers cannot produce needed ID with picture -- since Tennessee revoked its law allowing driver's licenses to undocumented workers -- police arrest the Hispanics and book them.

That's the law for anyone who police do not believe will show up in court to pay for a traffic or other offense. The police are not at fault here; it's the local sheriff who then takes the name and fingerprints of offenders to see if they're legally in this country. June 23, 2008

" 287(g) programs like here in Nashville have stigmatized all Hispanics, citizens or not"

As for Hispanic voters, Obama made no mention Tuesday night of the national persecution of people who look like us and our abuelos. ICE raids and 287(g) programs like here in Nashville have stigmatized all Hispanics, citizens or not. The human rights abuses are outrageous. Due process has been sacrificed, because undocumented workers can't read the applications in English waiving their rights to counsel and hearings -- where they could invoke their right to seek asylum from violence and/or political persecution in their homelands. Or to get a guest worker permit. June 5, 2008

"Programs such as 287(g) are not about deporting criminals. They are about scoring political points"


Sen. Dole,

I've read the e-mail you sent last week to North Carolina voters about your establishment of a 287(g) deportation program with county sheriffs across the state. The purpose of the program, you say, is to deport illegal aliens who are committing crimes to property and people.
[In Nashville,] 62 percent of those arrested went to jail for the first time. For the remaining 32% who had criminal records, two-thirds of those records were for misdemeanors.
Programs such as 287(g) are not about deporting criminals. They are about scoring political points with talk show hosts, extremists in the immigration debate and sadly, some bigots. America's historical bigotry against Hispanics, parituclarly those of Mexican descent like myself, is well-documented. You may win for the moment in your state, but you are writing the GOP's obituary by going after Hispanics. We will remember these outrages against human decency and human rights. And history will increasingly be written from our point of view as our numbers and economic influence grow.June 3, 2008

"Two thirds ... did not have criminal records"

Here, we have what's called the 287(g) deportation program. The local sheriff -- who is elected -- made an agreement with the Feds to detain immigrants on traffic charges of driving without a seat belt or fishing without a license. Then he checks their immigration status on an INS database and holds them for the Feds.

He sold the program to Nashville, which is predominantly a Democratic and liberal city, as a way to just deport criminal elements of undocumented workers. Now, after 3,000 deportations in only a year, he is basking in praise from local radio talk show hosts, including Phil Valentine of The Tennessean newspaper and local radio.

But the sheriff, who claims to be a Democrat, is now backtracking from claims he started the program to deport criminals. That's because more than two-thirds of the 3,000 people deported did not have criminal records. They did, however, have families. And those families are now being torn apart. The children suffer the most, not knowing when they kiss Papa goodbye for school in the morning if they'll see him for months or years after they return home in the afternoon. May 27, 2008

"Some of the most inhumane treatment of people in this nation since the Civil Rights movement days and the internment of Japanese-American families during World War II"

The 287(g) deportation program in Nashville has produced some of the most inhumane treatment of people in this nation since the Civil Rights movement days and the internment of Japanese-American families during World War II. May 16, 2008

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