TN Supreme Court rules Metro's participation in 287(g) program was legal

Thursday, October 4, 2012 at 10:04pm

The Tennessee Supreme Court issued a ruling Thursday stating that the Memorandum of Agreement between Metro and the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement did not violate the Metro Charter or any state law.

The agreement authorized some certified deputies of the Davidson County Sheriff’s Office to perform certain immigration duties under the federal 287(g) program.

Daniel Renteria-Villegas, along with other plaintiffs, sued Metro and ICE last year claiming that DCSO deputies illegally arrested, detained and interrogated them while investigating their immigration status. The plaintiffs and their lawyer, immigration attorney Elliot Ozment, claimed those actions by the deputies exceeded the bounds of the sheriff’s office’s legal powers regarding the enforcement of laws.

In its ruling issued Thursday, the Supreme Court found that “[w]hile the Charter makes the Police Chief the ‘principal conservator of the peace,’ it does not expressly prohibit the Sheriff from engaging in all activities that could conceivably be considered ‘law enforcement.’ ”

Sheriff Daron Hall said of the ruling, “I never had any doubt about our authority when we entered into this agreement with the federal government in 2007. We, legally, processed just over 10,000 illegal aliens for removal in this county and reduced the percentage of illegal aliens arrested for crimes by 80 percent. The Supreme Court decision not only clears up this matter now, but will also help guide leaders of Nashville for years to come.”

In August, the sheriff’s office announced it would end its participation in the 287(g) program when the current MOA expires, which is set to happen next week. The sheriff’s office will instead operate under another federal program called Secure Communities.

Justice Sharon G. Lee wrote the opinion for the court. Click here to read the opinion in its entirety.

renteria-villegas opinion.pdf200.18 KB

3 Comments on this post:

By: govskeptic on 10/5/12 at 3:04

Of course it was legal and a good program for our city. Too bad
the Sheriff and many others decided to end it.

By: karatero on 10/5/12 at 7:12

I agree. Like it or not it was valid enforcement of a laws that need to be especially enforced. The DCSO was in the right and Sheriff Hall made a PC decision to end its run. Too bad. I hope Davidson County will elect a new sheriff in the next election that will look out for the needs of the community instead of activists with a agenda contrary to the law...............

By: RTungsten on 10/5/12 at 8:26

It's OK, Obama will give them all amesty anyhow.