NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A controversial immigration enforcement program will not be implemented in East Tennessee, but a mid-state county is still waiting to hear if it will be allowed to participate.
A spokesman for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement says the agency has declined an application from the Knox County Sheriff's Office to implement the 287(g) program that gives federal immigration authority to local law enforcement.
A spokesperson for the Rutherford County Sheriff’s Office told WMOT News Wednesday morning that the department has not yet heard about its application to operate 287(g).
The federal program was designed as a tool to deport violent criminals. But an ACLU study of 287(g)’s use by the Davidson County Sheriff’s Office, indicated most of the nearly 10,000 individuals deported using the program were initially detained for minor infractions, mostly traffic violations.
Last December, the Tennessee chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union urged both counties to drop their bids to implement 287(g). The ACLU’s Hedy Weinberg told WMOT then that she was especially worried about the Rutherford County application.
“We are especially concerned that Rutherford County’s application, given the area’s history of hostility toward immigrants and Muslims, will result in a fairly serious problem in the community around racial profiling and due process violations.”
Congress is in the process of phasing the program out. It’s being replaced by a fingerprint-sharing effort called Secure Communities.