In the clearest indication yet that the Feds are ready and willing to write off Nashville's embattled 287(g) program as the cost of doing business in America, U.S. Attorney Jerry Martin — on behalf of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement — has "disclaimed any interest in the outcome of this litigation."
Martin filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit brought by Elliott Ozment in federal court because, as we've discussed here, the plaintiff isn't seeking any judgment against ICE.
Ozment was ordered to include the United States as a party to the lawsuit by Chancellor Carol McCoy — even after Martin sent a letter to the parties signaling the Fed's disinterest in joining Metro Government in its defense of Sheriff Hall's 287(g) partnership with ICE, which allows certain deputies to screen inmates for immigration violations. By enforcing federal immigration law, Ozment asserts the Davidson County Sheriff's Office is violating the Metro Charter by exceeding its mandate. This could mean the agreement violates state and local law, automatically running afoul of federal statute, rendering the 287(g) agreement void.
(For a more involved discussion of the challenge and 287(g)'s problems, check this.)
That's a local question, Martin asserts in his filing, not a federal one. That's why he's asking the court to take a close look at McCoy's decision to classify ICE as an indispensable party.
The court, he argues, could give Ozment all the relief he's asking for — declaring the contract with ICE void — without ICE's involvement. "The mere fact that this lawsuit might affect ICE’s relationship with the Metro Government does not mandate ICE’s joinder," Martin writes. "...ICE is explicitly declining to participate in this litigation."
So emphatic is Martin about bowing out of this local dust-up, he's seeking a definitive end to ICE's responsibility to answer to Ozment's complaint. He's worried about entering a "perpetual cycle" of remands and removals to state court, particularly if the Chancery Court gets another whack at the question.