Davidson County Sheriff's Office To Opt Out Of 287(g) Program
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Davidson County Sheriff's Office announced Tuesday that it will opt out of the controversial 287(g) program.
Sheriff Daron Hall said he submitted a letter to the U.S. Director of Immigration Customs Enforcement John Morton to notify him that the DCSO will not renew the 287(g) Delegation of Authority program when it expires October 8.
The Sheriff's office said they will transition to Secure Communities, an Obama administration initiative that automatically screens foreign born arrestees when they are fingerprinted and being booked into jail. If an arrestee has no prior arrest they won't be identified as undocumented.
Hall began the 287(g) program in 2007 after an illegal immigrant killed two people while driving drunk.
Immigrant rights activists have fought it for years, saying it punishes immigrants who have committed only misdemeanor offenses. They also believe it encourages racial profiling.
More than 10,000 illegal immigrants were processed for removal from Davidson County under the authority of 287(g) since it was implemented.
On Tuesday, Hall said that since 2007, there has been an 80 percent decrease in the number of arrestees who are illegally in the country. He attributed much of the decline to the success of 287(g), although illegal immigration also has decreased greatly in recent years.
Sheriff Hall said fewer undocumented foreign born arrestees will be identified under Secure Communities. However, Hall added the effectiveness of the 287(g) program has "caused the agency to work itself out of the job of screening illegal aliens."
"Make no mistake, local, 287(g) has been an overwhelming success and described as a model program; however, from day one of starting of the program, I said if it stopped making a significant impact, we would move on. That day has come," Hall said in a release.
Hall said when DCSO started using the program, there was no federal program. Secure Communities has since been implemented in every county in Tennessee, and will be nationwide by 2013.
287(g) gives trained deputies the authorization to identify, process, and when appropriate, detain criminal, illegal immigrants encountered in the jail booking process.
A recent charter amendment filed by the Metro Legal Department seeks to clarify the sheriff's office duties.
There currently is a lawsuit before the Supreme Court that seeks to block the 287(g) program.