Resolution adopted by the Knox County Democratic Party Board of Governors to Oppose the Application by Knox County Sheriff Jimmy “J.J.” Jones for the 287(g) Program

Resolution adopted by the Knox County Democratic Party Board of Governors to Oppose the Application by Knox County Sheriff Jimmy “J.J.” Jones for the 287(g) Program

Whereas immigration enforcement is a federal rather than local responsibility;

Whereas Knoxville and Knox County are home to academic
institutions, businesses, faith communities, civic organizations, and
neighborhoods that benefit from the inclusion of international residents;

Whereas communities are safer if all residents feel comfortable
approaching and interacting with law enforcement officers when suspected crime
occurs or when other matters concerning the safety and security of the
community arise;

Whereas aggressive, mass deportations will disrupt
communities and families, causing foreseeable, increased harm to children and
youth, schools, and neighborhoods, and misdirect law enforcement efforts away
from more genuine and pressing threats to communities;

Whereas the 287(g) program of the U.S. Department of
Homeland Security is a voluntary, rather than required, program for local law
enforcement agencies;

Whereas many jurisdictions bound or formerly bound to
287(g) agreements have found that costs left to local taxpayers (including
salaries and benefits for local 287(g) personnel and other budget items) impose
a burden that far outweighs the program’s claimed benefits, with the federal
government covering only part of the substantial expenses and liabilities
involved;

Whereas the American Civil Liberties Union expressed to the
Department of Homeland Security in a letter on March 31, 2017, its “deep
concern” about: 1) the 287(g) program in general, noting that “287(g)
agreements cost localities money while damaging public safety and community
trust in law enforcement;” and 2) the suitability of the Knox County Sheriff’s
Office in particular to participate in the program;

Whereas when the Federal Government denied the previous
application for the 287(g) program by the Knox County Sheriff’s Office in 2013,
Sheriff Jones exhibited: 1) a disregard for the rule of law by stating that
even though his deputies had been denied the authority to enforce immigration
law in the local jurisdiction, he would do so “with or without the help of U.S.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement;” and 2) a disregard for civil and human
rights, for positive police-community relations, and for the public reputation
of Knox County by stating that he was willing to “stack” immigrant detainees
“like cordwood in the Knox County Jail;”

Whereas implementation of the 287(g) program in Nashville
in 2007-2012 resulted in civil  rights violations and at least one
settlement with an immigrant detainee, Juana Villegas, that cost Davidson
County taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees and settlement
costs;

Whereas Sheriff Jones has refused, despite repeated requests, to meet in a timely
fashion with concerned members of the community to share his reasons for
applying for 287(g) and his plans for the program, or to hear community
concerns regarding its potential impact; and

Whereas Sheriff Jones has stated to U.S. Immigration and
Customs Enforcement he has plans to turn 150 Knox County residents over to U.S.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement per month, a number that far exceeds Knox
County Sheriff’s Office past practices, and if enacted, will
cause: increased racial profiling; unnecessary, disruptive, and otherwise
improper deportations; and further overcrowding of Knox County jails with
people accused of low-level offenses;

  

Therefore, be it Resolved, that the Knox County Democratic Party Board of Governors, on behalf of its members:

      

  1. Strongly urges Sheriff Jones to withdraw the application for the 278(g) program
  2. Urges all Knox County citizens to contact their County Commissioner by letter, phone, email, or in
    person to urge the Commissioner to recommend to Sheriff Jones that the
    application for the 287(g) program be withdrawn;
         
  3. Encourages all Knox County citizens to contact Sheriff Jones to urge Sheriff Jones to withdraw the
    application for the 287(g) program;
  4. Asks that all elected public officials take an official stance--vocally, in public, in writing, and by press release--opposing the application of the Knox County Sheriff’s Office for the 287(g) program;
  5. Stands ready to support the Democratic Party in other counties of Tennessee in establishing
    resolutions of opposition to the 287(g) program should their law enforcement
    agencies apply for the 287(g) program.
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