The People News, a free newspaper serving Cleveland Tennessee (TN) and Bradley County Tennessee (Tn).





Of Bradley County Tn.


MAY  2007

                            The People News, a free newspaper serving Cleveland and Bradley County Tn.

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Illegal Immigrants Identified
Use of new law enables local law enforcement
to identify criminal illegal aliens.

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by Pete Edwards

Nashville law enforcement were startled by the success of a new program designed

to make it easier to identify illegal aliens who run afoul of the law. The federal program, which is known simply as 287(g), provides enhanced communication and cooperation between federal immigration authorities and local law enforcement to help identify and initiate deportation proceedings of criminal illegal immigrants.

Jared Allen of the Nashville City Paper reported that after one week of Davidson County Sheriff's Office running instant immigration checks on all foreign-born persons arrested and booked into the Nashville jail, they found that 81 of the 97 individuals self-reported as having birthplaces outside of the United States, were in this country illegally.

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Davidson County Sheriff's Office personnel were certified to participate in the 287(g) program which is part of the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996. The program allows state and local law enforcement officers to be trained to act as immigration officers.

The newly trained Davidson County Sheriff's Office immigration officers identified the 81 illegal aliens out of a total of  920 individuals booked during the week April 16 - 23, the first week 287 (g) immigration checks were run.

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Numbers showing how many of those 81 individuals were detained in the Metro jail, versus how many were released with notices to appear before a federal immigration judge in Memphis to prove their residency were unavailable, Sheriff's Office personnel told the Nashville City Paper.

The exact birthplaces of those 81 individuals were also not available, although the Sheriff's Office estimates that between 90-95 percent were from either Mexico or a Central or South American country.

The fact that a full 84 percent of the foreign-born persons arrested -- and 9 percent of all persons arrested -- that week were identified as illegal aliens and set for removal, came as welcome news to Sheriff Daron Hall, the chief proponent of the 287(g) program.

"In two weeks, we will have set for removal a higher number of persons than we had set for removal in an entire year under the old system," Hall said.

In all of 2006 under the old system, federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents working in Vermont identified 151 Nashville arrestees as illegal aliens for the Davidson County Sheriff's Office. Under the rules of 287(g), instant immigration checks can be carried out by local ICE trained law enforcement personnel without the need to wait for  ICE agents to check immigration status.

"If we keep on this track, in another week we will have processed 160 for removal," Hall said. "So we will have done in two weeks what would have taken a year."

And at a rate of 80 persons a week, in the next year Nashville will set for deportation some 4,160 persons -- mostly Hispanic -- or roughly 11 percent of the entire estimated population of Hispanic individuals living in Davidson County.

The U.S. Census Department estimated Davidson County's 2005 Hispanic population to be 37,967 or 6.6 percent of the county's 575,261 persons.

Because identifying and incarcerating illegal aliens can be a drain on local law enforcement resources the federal government initiated the State Criminal Alien Assistance Program (SCAAP). SCAAP is a payment program administered by the Office of Justice Programs (OJP), through its component the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA), in conjunction with the Immigration and ICE, a bureau within the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

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What Do You Think?
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Would you support the Bradley County Sheriff's Department applying for certification for 287(g) to allow them to check an individual's immigration status?
(see story this page)

Totals for this survey will be tabulated at the end of May 2007.
Click here for results after May

The People News
PO Box 3921
Cleveland TN. 37320
(423) 559-2150  Fax 559-1044

Pete Edwards, Editor - Publisher
Copyright 2007 (All rights reserved)


SCAAP was authorized by the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994 to provide federal assistance to states and localities for the costs of incarcerating certain criminal aliens who are in custody based on state or local charges or convictions. In fiscal year 2005, BJA distributed $287.1 million in SCAAP payments to 752 state, county, and local jurisdictions.

The program reimburses states and localities that incur correctional officer salary costs for incarcerating undocumented criminal aliens who: (1) have at least one felony or two misdemeanor convictions for violations of state or local law, and (2) are incarcerated for at least four consecutive days.

Because of the influx of undocumented aliens entering the U.S. via its southern border with Mexico local law enforcement agencies across the country are applying for certification under 287(g) to identify criminal illegal aliens.
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