The Tennessean joined the 287(g) discussion today with a piece on Migration Policy's numbers, indicating our program targets working-class immigrants with traffic citations and detains few dangerous offenders. What follows is a fair amount of he said/she said. Advocates note he's not following U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement priorities — the intention is to nab the worst of the worst — and instead attempts to deport everyone with brown skin. Sheriff Daron Hall then claims he has some sort of special dispensation from ICE to totally ignore its enforcement priorities — priorities specifically enumerated in the agreement he signed.
What's interesting is that the story approaches it like there's some sort of legitimate debate here. There isn't, as we note in a recent story examining 287(g). In fact, the folks over at 1100 Broadway might have saved on dead trees and column inches if they'd read the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) between the Davidson County Sheriff's Office and ICE. To wit:
Appendix D of the MOA: "To ensure resources are managed effectively, ICE requires the DCSO to also manage its resources dedicated to 287(g) authority under the MOA. To that end, the following list reflects the categories of aliens that are a priority for arrest and detention with the highest priority being Level 1 criminal aliens.
Section V Detention and Transportation Issues: ICE and DCSO will prioritize the detention of aliens in conformity with ICE detention priorities.
Translation: We only have so much federal detention space, so concentrate on the dangerous felons.
It's not that strange contradictions can't be found in DCSO's MOA with ICE (see ICE Hazard). It's that declarations like the following are either falsehoods, Hall hasn't read the MOA, or ICE itself has no intention of following its own stated goals: "The choice is who gets the detainer (immigration hold) and who is taken into ICE's custody," Hall told The Tennessean. "There are jurisdictions where the sheriff's office or police department chose not to put detainers on everyone that they encounter who could be removed. They want to focus their resources, either because ICE has told them that they don't have the detention space or because they want their program targeted."
Isn't that exactly what the MOA says? But for whatever reason, it doesn't get pointed out in the story. Ambiguity reigns when the language of our agreement with ICE is unambiguous.