Council committee votes unanimously to revise 287(g)

Tuesday, October 20, 2009 at 2:19am

Supporters and detractors of the controversial 287(g) program squared off Monday night during a meeting of the Metro Council Public Safety Committee, a meeting that ended with a unanimous vote to approve a revision to the program.

Proponents say the program has been an effective way keep to illegal aliens with criminal histories off the street, but detractors say it creates a dangerous culture of fear for all immigrants.

The federal 287(g) program, which was started in Nashville in April 2007, delegates U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement authority to local law enforcement agencies.

Just short of 100 communities across the nation participate in the program, and all previously had slightly different agreements with the federal government. The Obama Administration is working to restructure the pacts to make them more uniform throughout the country. The restructuring will not change how the Nashville program is implemented.

Bass, Berry & Sims attorney David Esquivel, who argued the program created a sense of distrust of authority within the community, said it's bad public policy to put a wall between certain groups and the police.

“I'm concerned about the way that this program has forced thousands of our neighbors to live in fear of minor traffic stops or any sort of interaction with police that drives them further into the shadows of our society,” he said.

Armed with a PowerPoint presentation, Sheriff Daron Hall outlined the data that his department had collected since the 287(g) program was first initiated in Davidson County. According to those figures, Hall said his office has seen no pattern of abuse of the program.

“Since the implementation of the program there's been a 58 percent decline in the percentage of illegal aliens committing crime in this community,” Hall said, adding that 6,400 individuals have been processed for removal through the program.

One of the original concerns over the program was that police officials would be more likely to physically arrest rather than issue a citation for individuals who have committed a misdemeanor crime, creating a de facto immigration enforcement option.

In his presentation, Hall said the data does not support that concern.

“The data supports that more people that are foreign born are now being issued citations and are not being taken to jail at all,” Hall said. “That clearly demonstrates to me that citations are not being ignored instead to have the individuals arrested so they will be checked into 287(g).”

Esquivel also argued the current program put too much of a burden on police officers to identify which situations call for a citation and which call for an arrest.

“287(g) also provides officers with an incentive to rely on proxy indicators to tell who is foreign born because those are the category of people who will be screened for 287(g) when they arrive at the jail,” he said. “That incentive will inevitably and unfairly lead officers to consider proxy considerations for being foreign born, such as language ability, ethnicity, or race.”

Following the meeting, Hall said he feels the current Davidson County setup avoids such problems because every physical arrest must be justified by a magistrate at the jail before the suspect is screened for immigration violations.

'If we didn't have that role I would be more concerned about that,” he said. “I have no reason to believe it's not working the way it is and we have a quality control check with a judge or judicial magistrate there to authorize all arrests.”

Esquivel said he was disappointed by the unanimous committee support for the program, but he said it raised awareness of the issues flagged by the program. He remains concerned that the project targets misdemeanor offenses, casting a wider net on who is affected by the procedure.

Metro Council will vote Tuesday to ratify the revised agreement.

19 Comments on this post:

By: bfra on 10/20/09 at 3:44

Sure Esquivol is disappointed, he would like to make it easier for his ilk (legal or illegal) to infestitate the Country more. More filth & crime, more diseases, & more drain on FREE social services (paid for by Legal taxpayers). He should spend more time helping uphold the law, rather than abet the breaking of them.

By: govskeptic on 10/20/09 at 4:47

The Feds would now like to now get rid of a good law that they
themselves started. Sure Bass-Berry business clients would like
to get rid of it completely. A raid on the Gaylord Hotel would
possibly leave them with only 3 employees. Hopefully the
council will approve it just as presented by the good Sheriff!

By: DEBORAHNEWBERN on 10/20/09 at 6:37

I think the law is great and should remain the same. It is good that they are scared to break the law. The US is going down hill guick due to all the crime, births and cheap labor that they provide and all the freeby's that they get. Atleast if they are going to be here they can abide by the laws and go back where they came from if they can't. I see nothing wrong with that. American's can't afford to have 4 or 5 babies. We could if they were all free,,,,,,,,keep up the good work Mr Hall..... you get my vote.......I am sure Esquivol is disappointed.......I am sure the police are handling wheather or not to take them to jail just fine as they do all of us. No matter what... color/race/orgin. Get over it and do what you are suppost to do. .....

By: ppkdjls2 on 10/20/09 at 7:00

Did I miss something in this article?...What is the revision?

By: sidneyames on 10/20/09 at 7:01

PEople from countries where the law is TOTALLY crooked will never trust anyone in law enforcement or otherwise. In America, we are taught as children that police are our friends. AND IF we obey the law, yes they are. I've been helped out by law enforcement many times. BUT when I was speeding and got a ticket, they were not my "friend" they were law enforcement. And good for them. They risk their lives daily. Thank you law enforcement. I agree with newbern. GET over it and do what you are supposed to do. Go Darron Hall, go guy!

By: Alphadog7 on 10/20/09 at 7:40

I don't get it.

"Distrust" of the police because they might be arrested for something they are guilty of?

"Living in Fear" because they broke the law? God forbid!

Illegal immigration supporters: Where is the logic in separating the consequences from people's illegal actions? If you want immigration reform, don't try make it easy to get around the law... Change the law! Instead of accommodating illegals, work to make it easier to come here legally. Quit trying to skirt the law.

By: JeffF on 10/20/09 at 8:10

ppkdjls2 that modification was the addition of a magistrate prior to 287(g) processing. The Magistrate will determine the legitimacy of the arrest ad determine if it should have been a citation instead. If the arrest is determined to be a proper action than 287(g) processing will begin.

By: Blanketnazi2 on 10/20/09 at 8:59

good post, Alphadog.

By: TharonChandler on 10/20/09 at 9:14

If the program '287g' actually helped to remove 'Illegal immigrants' then it IS helpful to the 'Legal' immigrants or those foreign workers here whom have been through the Proper immigration/ naturalization/ citizenship process. I admire the Mexican people (and basicly all of God's creations) and believe that Spanish integration and Proper immigration process is neccessary and Needed. If some groups wre living 'in fear' then probably they needed to be living elsewhere, like south of the US Border. All shortages of 'housing' and of 'jobs' in the US pertain in some measure to illiegal immigrants working here (if not also to the 'burst' in the 'housing bubble' that came when the economy faltered and more immigrants left or didn't come).

Re: "Since the implementation of the program there's been a 58 percent decline in the percentage of illegal aliens committing crime in this community,” Hall said, adding that 6,400 individuals have been processed for removal through the program".

By: jack adams on 10/20/09 at 10:44

Uh well, where is the so called self appointed LEADERSHIP of Hispanic community Yuri Cunza the person with criminal wrap sheet and short lawyer Greg Rumos.
How is it that they do not show up and are missing from these events.
Sad to see that community does not have a true leader and everyone is sticking it to them.

By: TN4th on 10/20/09 at 10:56

It is amazing to see how illiterate the commenting xenophobes are. There is a lot of talk about immigrants not learning enough English. How about the Rednecks? Not too much good English there, either.

By: Blanketnazi2 on 10/20/09 at 11:19

Yeah, you got a point there, TN4th. jack, it's "rap" sheet not "wrap" sheet and it's Greg Ramos, not Rumos.

By: Blanketnazi2 on 10/20/09 at 11:20

as far as Yuri Cunza's "wrap" sheet goes, I just see some old misdemeanors from the 90's.

By: slzy on 10/20/09 at 6:17

tn4th,would you call someone a redneck to their face with the tone you imply,or are you the measly coward you seem to be?

By: slzy on 10/20/09 at 7:28

i bet these illegal aliens are looked down upon in their home countries as hicks or bumpkins of some sort.

further i bet they speak something closer to pig latin than spanish,and the educated probably go into their dialect to make points of their living conditions.

they would not know cervantes from cicero,yet they and their apologists have the nerve to insult the citizens of this country,playing host and benefactor to these uninvited "guests".

By: quantum_reaper on 10/21/09 at 12:06

Please enlighten us ,TN4th, with your "much good English". It never ceases to amaze me how when these flamers can't refute facts they always pick on spelling. It really is pathetic.
This program lowered crime rates by deporting people who were here in violation of the law in the first place. The thing that really ticks off these Kantian egalitarians is that it shows the flaw in there philosophy. No one is busting down doors, or raiding apartment complexes.
If a cop stops me for running a stop sign, and then finds a stolen television in my back seat should I get off on the larceny charge because the original charge was only worthy of a citation?

By: quantum_reaper on 10/21/09 at 12:08

correction: "their philosophy". Beat ya to that one...:)

By: sidneyames on 10/21/09 at 12:13

Change the law! Instead of accommodating illegals, work to make it easier to come here legally. Quit trying to skirt the law.

Alpha I agree with that statement. People who fear the law and law enforcement are usually afraid because they are either uneducated about it or are breaking the law.

Let's educate and teach people that our culture is not so bad after all.

By: Time for Truth on 10/22/09 at 9:57

My favorite malaprop here so far is 'infestitate' at the top of the page.

287g works, which in today's Metro government makes it a miracle. It should be kept and it looks like most of council agrees.

Govskeptic, the Gaylord Hotel is probably at least partly responsible for our large non-English speaking population. They should be giving Metro money for ESL teachers, not taking handouts as part of the MCC fiasco.

The changes are to comply with Federal law and have to be made.