Thursday, January 13, 2011

ICE Hazard: Behind the Troubled History and Current Challenge to 287(g)

Posted by on Thu, Jan 13, 2011 at 12:38 PM

Sheriff Daron Hall
  • Sheriff Daron Hall
On Jan. 7, Elliott Ozment filed a challenge to Sheriff Hall's 287(g) partnership with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement in Chancery Court. He argues that by enforcing federal immigration law, Hall is violating the Metropolitan Charter of Nashville and Davidson County, which stripped him of his law enforcement authority back in 1963. Ozment also cites a provision of the Immigration and Nationality Act, which says 287(g) may only be carried out "to the extent consistent with State and local law."

For the uninitiated, the 287(g) program is a partnership with ICE that allows designated deputies to screen anyone in the jail for immigration violations.

In today's Scene, we examine the challenge, talk to some legal experts who think it just might hold water, and evaluate the implementation of 287(g) in Davidson County jails. The challenge hinges upon Ozment's plaintiff, Daniel Renteria-Villegas — a native-born U.S. citizen who got caught up in Hall's dragnet after a Metro Police officer said he heard gunshots coming from an SUV in which Renteria was a passenger.

Some confusion evidently still surrounds the incident. In a story about the suit, The Tennessean stated, "Police said in the warrant that he fired the shots reported the night of the 14th." Since he was picked up on an aggravated assault warrant eight days later for the shots fired, it would make sense that he was the one to pull the trigger, right?

Contrary to what was reported, though, nowhere in the arrest warrant does it say he pulled the trigger. It simply has him fleeing from the car. (No one was shot in the incident.) In fact, the judge ultimately dismissed the charge because it was known Renteria didn't fire the gun. In all likelihood, Renteria was arrested on the aggravated-assault beef because Metro Police hoped he'd roll on the real troublemaker. It's an important distinction to make, because otherwise it gives the impression that the charges were dismissed on a technicality.

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