Woman who gave birth in sheriff’s custody challenges 287(g)

Tuesday, May 26, 2009 at 1:45am

The woman who gave birth while in custody last July and was set on a path to deportation as part of the controversial 287(g) program has filed suit in federal court seeking damages along with a ruling that would change United States policy on immigration enforcement nationwide.

Juana Villegas filed suit in U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee earlier this month and named Metro, the Davidson County Sheriff’s Office and the United States Department of Homeland Security as defendants. Homeland Security oversees the Immigration and Customs Enforcement office, which implements 287(g).

The Davidson County’s Sheriff’s Office has utilized 287(g) since 2007. The program allows local law enforcement to check the immigration status of those who enter the local jail.

More than 5,000 individuals have been identified as illegal immigrants in Nashville because of 287(g).

However, opponents have criticized the program because it sometimes sends individuals on the path to deportation for something as minor as a traffic stop.

Villegas was pulled over last July in Berry Hill for careless driving after she allegedly changed lanes without using a turn signal. Berry Hill Police Sgt. Tim Coleman elected to arrest Villegas, who was nine months pregnant, instead of issuing her a traffic citation and once she was in the Davidson County jail, she went into labor.

According to reports, Villegas was taken to Metro General Hospital at Meharry, where she was shackled to her bed during the early parts of her labor and after she gave birth. She was denied a breast pump and went hours without seeing her child, reports show.

Eventually, Villegas had the original traffic charge dismissed because Coleman reportedly did not fill out the citation correctly.

While she still faces deportation, her attorney Elliot Ozment has filed suit to block that.

Currently, Villegas filed suit in federal court to receive damages and to have the court rule on the legality of 287(g).

The Department of Homeland Security filed a motion to dismiss, which Villegas’ attorneys — along with Ozment the Nashville firm Sherrard and Roe is representing her — answered last week. Villegas’ attorneys argued that the Department of Homeland Security must remain a party to the lawsuit because “Metro cannot provide the relief she desires from ICE: changes in its unauthorized and unconstitutional policies.”

Last year, the Sheriff’s Office changed its policy on how it handles its female prisoners who go into labor following the Villegas incident. At the time of her arrest, Villegas’ story received much media attention, including a New York Times piece.

9 Comments on this post:

By: bartf2u on 5/26/09 at 7:18

The bottom line is, is she here illegally or not? If she is illegal, then this woman is CONTINUING to break federal law even as she is filing her lawsuit just by being here!
When will these illegals realize that they have NO RIGHTS WHATSOEVER to be here,get a driver license, file lawsuits, etc;?

By: Magnum on 5/26/09 at 8:10

"However, opponents have criticized the program because it sometimes sends individuals on the path to deportation for something as minor as a traffic stop."

No...they are not being sent down the path of deportation due to a minor traffic stop. They are being sent down the path of deportation due to being here illegally. Let's not mix our words.

By: KelliePicklerFan on 5/26/09 at 9:09

There we go with these Illegals demanding their rights, they have NO rights they are not here legally!
Why any court would take on this garbage is a mystery to many of us legal US citizens.
Lets ship her back and arrest the jerk of a lawyer who would even think of defending her for wasting our time by attempting to sue anybody on behalf of this illegal Mexican.
Damned Mexicans!!! You have NO rights here, go home!!!

By: pandabear on 5/26/09 at 9:45

Well, Kellie's pretty much said it for me.

By: JeffF on 5/26/09 at 12:29


By: Casca on 5/26/09 at 2:04

To zero in on the paramount issue of ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION, the American Public must do several things. 1. Vote out all anti-sovereignty, pro-illegal immigration, pro-open border, free trader politicians. You'll find the answers at NUMBERSUSA. 2. The ominous magnet is the parasite businesses--large and small- taking away the livelihood of non-skilled, or poorly skilled regular working class Americans. E-verify is the answer? Although it has intentionally been weakened by Sen. Reid, Speaker Pelosi, Sen. Feinstein and others Democrats in the main stream. If you haven't noticed each party has continuously undermined any serious law, to stop the millions of illegal aliens and families squatting here.

The 1986 Simpson/Mazzoli bill has never been enforced, so the free movement of illegal labor has never been extinguished. The millions of foreign labor in this country is of epidemic size and you the taxpayer are paying for everything, to subsidize their living here. With all the government handouts they have access to with large families, the chances are they are making more money than you. It now has infiltrated blue and white collar jobs over three decades. Only a in-perpetuity E-Verify with serious punishment for employers, will stop the never ending river of foreign labor. If American workers do address this travesty, nothing will ever be achieved. Sitting on ones hands does--NOTHING? Find more answers at JUDICIAL WATCH, CAPSWEB OR UNIPAC. Offer your support to Rep.Shuler (D-NC) on his gov website. Phone: 828-252-1651 and Senator Sessions (R-AL) (256) 533-0979

By: PortTabacco on 5/26/09 at 3:13

This illegal scum is probably being used by an open border group that wants her
to become the next Illegal Alien Activist Elvira Arellano.

She is being used to change immigration enforcement policy so that
millions more can enter illegally and control our country's policy.

Elvira Arellano was thrown out of the U.S.
She is happier now! :)

By: MackBL on 5/26/09 at 6:54

The ILLEGAL parents know what they were doing and they continue by Abusing the 14th Amendment to create more children as Anchors and more ILLEGALS for United States Citizens to furnish benefits! The Elitist Politicians from both "major" Political Parties and their Elitist Contributors are "socializing benefits" to the ILLEGALS for the ILLEGAL EMPLOYERS, camouflaged as welfare for United States Citizens, on the backs of United States citizens through our assets such as the Education System, Social Security, and Health Care not to mention our National Security while “privatizing” the profits for themselves!

By: MackBL on 5/26/09 at 6:58

Our FAMILIES are at the mercy of ILLEGALS and their Anchors being murdered, raped, infected with disease, or robbed. We can see the results of the ILLEGAL invasion in our courts every day! But NOT to worry the Chamber of Commerce will get their cheap labor increasing their privatized PROFITS while socializing the benefits for their ILLEGALS on the back of U. S. Citizens, thanks to our past and current Presidents, the Congressional Leadership(?), and local elected and appointed officials!