Davidson County will become one of the first municipalities in the country to participate in a Department of Homeland Security (DHS) immigration enforcement program following the signing of an agreement today at a meeting hosted by a group of Tennessee senators and congressman.
Assistant Secretary Julie Myers of DHS presented Davidson County Sheriff Daron Hall with a signed Memorandum of Agreement to allow the county to participate in the 287 (g) program. Davidson County sheriff's deputies will be able to check the immigration status of individuals being held in the county jail and, if a detainee is determined to be illegally in the country, take appropriate immigration enforcement action.
U.S. Senators Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Bob Corker (R-TN) and U.S. Representatives Jim Cooper (D-TN-5) and Marsha Blackburn (R-TN-7) have been supporting the county's effort to join the program and hosted the meeting in Alexander's office.
"The federal government has done its part, and now Davidson County can complete the final step so that illegal immigrants held in the Davidson Country jail can be identified and our immigration laws can be enforced," said Alexander. "Now the federal government should turn its attention to the rest of our job which is to bring up comprehensive immigration reform and not stop until we've finished a bill to secure our borders, to define a legal status for those who legally work and study here, and to help new Americans learn English and our democratic heritage."
"I'm proud to join with my congressional colleagues and Davidson County officials in support of this tool to better enforce our immigration laws," said Corker. "This highlights the need for immigration reform, and I look forward to working toward solutions here in the Senate, including the essential first step of securing our borders."
"Once again, Daron Hall has proved that he is one of the top sheriffs in America," said Cooper. "He will be among the first to deport illegal aliens from his jail, and to do so in a fair, humane way. It's a shame that the federal government has been so slow enabling sheriffs to have this power, but I am pleased that, at least in Nashville's case, the federal bureaucracy has moved with record speed. I'm proud that my colleagues and I could help make that happen."
"The border security issue does not end at the border. The problem of illegal immigration affects us all no matter where you live. We all have to do our part. As a member of the Homeland Security committee, I am proud that Davidson County law enforcement is getting the authority and training to track and detain those illegals that have broken the law," said Blackburn.
The sheriff's department was approved to participate in the program earlier this month, and the memorandum of agreement will formalize the relationship between the sheriff's office and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security so that training of sheriff's deputies - who would participate in the program - could commence. Davidson County officials will still need to sign the memorandum before it can be implemented.
Davidson County will join the growing ranks of agencies that have cooperative law enforcement agreements with DHS Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Currently eight agencies nationwide have 287 (g) authority and two more county sheriff's departments are in training. Since the beginning of fiscal year 2006, officers in 287 (g) departments have placed more than 9,000 individuals into removal proceedings. All of those individuals were originally arrested on local or state charges. ###