Tuesday, August 21, 2012

287(gone): read the two letters withdrawing Nashville from the enforcement program that caught ordinary immigrants as well as criminals

August 21, 2012

Director John Morton
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement
500 12th Street, SW
Washington, DC 20536

Dear Director Morton:

I write to inform you that Davidson County will not be renewing its MOA when ours expires October 8th.  This decision was difficult because I believe in 287(g) and recognize the value in public safety that it has produced in Nashville.

Due to the overwhelming success, our percentage of illegal aliens arrested for crimes is down 80 percent, and the fact that Secure Communities is live in Davidson County, I believe our resources are better served elsewhere in our agency.

I want to commend you and your staff for working to improve the relationship between ICE and its local law enforcement partners.  I cannot say enough about our FOD and of New Orleans', [sic] Phil Miller.  He is fantastic and made our program what it is today. Even through his own personal health challenges, he was committed to ensuring the program remained viable.

Once again, thanks for your leadership and partnership,


Daron Hall

From: Hall, Daron (DCSO)
Date: Tue, Aug 21, 2012 at 10:00 AM
Subject: 287(g) Announcement
To: Council Members
Cc: "Dean, Karl (Mayor)",  "Johnson, Torry (D.A.)", "Anderson, Steve (MNPD)"

Dear Council Members,

This morning, I sent a letter to the U.S. Director of Immigration Customs Enforcement John Morton to notify him the Davidson County Sheriff’s Office will not seek renew the 287(g) Delegation of Authority Program when our agreement expires October 8th.  It was six years ago August 15th that I wrote a letter requesting to participate in 287(g) upon realizing the federal government was only screening foreign born arrestees charged with aggravated felonies.  Five years prior, the percentage of foreign born individuals arrested nearly doubled in Nashville.  Not only have we reversed that trend, but levels of foreign born arrests have dipped to their lowest point in 10 years.  More than 10,000 illegal aliens have been processed for removal which has led to an 80 percent decline in the percentage of illegal aliens arrested in Davidson County. 

The numbers processed have decreased so dramatically that the workload of our 287(g) deputies has also significantly decreased by 70 percent.  Make no mistake, 287(g) has been an overwhelming success and described as a model program; however, from day one of starting the program, I said if it stopped making a significant impact, we would move on.  That day has come.  The staff of 12 currently dedicated to immigration enforcement can be more effectively used elsewhere within the agency.

In 2007, when we started participation in 287(g), the federal government did not respond to our county’s needs as far as removing criminal aliens from our community. I would not feel comfortable discontinuing the program if there was not a system in place that would continue to screen known illegal aliens booked into jail – but there is.  Secure Communities, an Obama administration initiative, is implemented in Davidson County and integrated with our booking system.  It prioritizes efforts to identify and remove criminal aliens and others who pose a potential threat to public safety.  When someone is fingerprinted during the booking process, this system automatically checks an arrestee’s immigration status.  This system requires no additional staff for the sheriff’s office and will make for a smooth transition.

I know there are a lot of critics who will say the challenges and controversies on this program led to this decision.  But, again, I have always said that if the program wasn’t making a significant impact in our community that we would move on.  We have monitored it since we began participation and I even said in my June budget hearing that we would make a decision about the program prior to renewal of the MOA. Originally, we planned to make this announcement in a couple of weeks.  But given the legal department’s recent filing of the charter amendment, I did not want 287(g)’s future to distract from this process as you consider the amendment.

Thanks, as always, for your support over the years.


Editor's note: the links under Secure Communities are mine, not the author's.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...