August 21, 2013

Hedy Weinberg, ACLU-TN Executive Director, 615-320-7142

NASHVILLE – U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Public Affairs Officer Bryan D. Cox confirmed yesterday that the Knox County Sheriff’s Office application for a 287(g) program has been denied.

287(g) programs provide for the delegation of immigration enforcement authority in certain circumstances to specific local and state law enforcement agencies.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Tennessee has raised serious concerns about the Knox County 287(g) application to law enforcement and lawmakers in letters and testimony.

ACLU-TN’s concerns were based on experiences with Davidson County’s 287(g) program documented, in the 2012 ACLU-TN report, Consequences & Costs: Lessons Learned from Davidson County, Tennessee’s Jail Model 287(g) Program. The report documents how the Davidson County 287(g) program’s focus on deporting immigrants without due process for minor, often traffic-related offenses undermined public safety, leading to immigrants living in fear and distrust of law enforcement, reluctant to report crimes they experienced or witnessed.

The following can be attributed to Hedy Weinberg, Executive Director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Tennessee:

“We applaud ICE’s decision to deny the Knox County Sheriff’s 287(g) application. 287(g) programs encourage racial profiling and frequent deportations for misdemeanors, leading to an erosion of trust in law enforcement and undermining public safety, as we documented in our report on the Davidson County 287(g) program. Keeping 287(g) out of Knoxville reinforces that all Knoxville residents must be treated fairly in the justice system, regardless of race or ethnicity.”