Immigration Enforcement

287(g) Screening pays off in Tennessee

By SHERIFF DARON HALL • September 14, 2008

When an opinion column ran Feb. 2, 2007, in The Tennessean with the headline, “Here is a tool to help the sheriff keep the community safer,” it could not have been more right. There is no doubt that our city is safer since the Davidson County Sheriff’s Office implemented the 287(g) program.

In the first 16 months of operation, 4,000 illegal immigrants (who committed crimes, were arrested and brought to jail) have been placed in removal proceedings. Of those, more than half had previous arrests.

During summer 2006, Nashville residents became frustrated after hearing of more than half a dozen homicides committed by illegal immigrants — many of whom had previous arrests on misdemeanor charges, but had been released from jail. Critics of the 287(g) program argue we should ignore the immigration status of arrestees until they commit a serious crime. I believe that is too late.

We regularly see evidence that screening all foreign-born arrestees pays off. Just last week, Juan Carlos Garcia was arrested for a misdemeanor crime. He was first arrested in Nashville for a misdemeanor and released before the implementation of 287(g). Between last week’s arrest and his first arrest, Garcia was charged and convicted of felony sexual assault of a child in Houston, Texas. Upon returning to Nashville, he was required to register as a sex offender — which he did not do. This is just one example of a low-level offender that is removed from the streets of Nashville because we screen all foreign-born arrestees. Would you have wanted him released? Without 287(g), he would have been.

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September 15, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The 287(g) program is working, and residents are safer because of it

By SHERIFF DARON HALL • August 12, 2008

Tennessee Voices

Manuel Garcia Delgado was arrested locally July 23 on a misdemeanor charge. He has at least 20 different aliases, was previously deported, and since 1990 has 23 prior convictions for crimes such as unlawful possession of heroin and cocaine, burglary, weapons possession, various drug trafficking and theft. These convictions were in Washington state, Oregon and Utah. Prior to 287(g) implementation, he was arrested in Davidson County for a misdemeanor crime and released.

Also screened by our program was David Medina-Velasquez. He was arrested for no driver’s license but is an aggravated felon with criminal convictions for crimes against children in California, had previously been deported and now is facing federal prosecution.

If our program was not screening for low-level offenses, these types of individuals would still be living in our community.

Over the past 16 months, this community has supported my efforts as they relate to the 287(g) program. I appreciate the continued support and want to remind you that just over 3,500 criminal aliens have been removed from our community and there is no doubt in my mind we are safer. More than half of those removed have been previously arrested.

The five years prior to 287(g), the percentage of arrestees who were foreign-born doubled, reaching an all-time high of 12.3 percent in April 2006. There has been a 34 percent decrease in that percentage since we began the 287(g) program. This is important because much was said about the potential for misuse by law enforcement.

If you look at the numbers, there is absolutely no evidence that more foreign-born individuals are being arrested just to be checked by 287(g). The most important point in these statistics is that there has been a 41 percent reduction in percentage of those arrested and determined to be illegal — which was always a primary goal of ours.

Advocates feel 287(g) is unfair because it screens those with misdemeanor offenses. They allege this was not the original plan. That is completely untrue. From initial implementation of this program, I always said those arrested, brought to jail, and found to be in this country illegally, will be processed for removal. I never “sold” it as anything else.

For those familiar with the Juana Villegas case, there are many points that can be debated and many inconsistencies in the stories being circulated.

What I can tell you is we are sensitive to the various aspects of this case. We are reviewing the circumstances surrounding her incarceration, as we would with any where concerns are raised. In addition, we are reviewing our policies and practices to see how we can improve.

In closing, I want to further remind you what we have accomplished since this program took effect in April 2007. In the summer of 2006, more than a half-dozen murders were committed in Nashville by illegal immigrants — many of whom had been previously incarcerated on misdemeanor crimes. Since the implementation of 287(g), there hasn’t been one high profile crime committed by a criminal alien. We can only hope this trend continues.

Daron Hall is the Davidson County sheriff.

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August 13, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments