Knox County's application for 287(g) program denied

Knox County's application for controversial 287(g) immigration program denied

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KNOXVILLE (WATE) - The Knox County Sheriff's Office's application for the controversial 287(g) immigration program was rejected.

The agreement would have allowed the sheriff's department to participate in a program called 287(g), which would train deputies to enforce immigration laws. It would allow deputies to scrutinize the immigration status of people arrested and held in jail.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokesperson Bryan Cox confirms a letter was sent to the sheriff's office within the past week, rejecting the application.

In a copy of the letter provided to the Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition, ICE Executive Director Thomas D. Homan explains Knox County's application was denied because of resource concerns.

A Department of Homeland Security document indicates the national 287(g) program's budget was reduced by $17 million for the 2013 fiscal year, and indicates new applications will be denied.

The department also indicated the Secure Communities program is more consistent, efficient and cost effective in identifying and arresting those violating immigration laws than 287(g).

Knox County has been a part of the Secure Communities program since June 2010 and was the first in the state.

The letter also says ICE will continue to work with Knox County through other programs, and the New Orleans Field Office Director is expected to meet with county officials sometime in the near future.

A public meeting was held in Knox County in July, during which some residents complained that 287(g) causes trust problems between law enforcement and residents, as well as problems with due process and racial profiling.

A Department of Homeland Security document indicates the national 287(g) program's budget was reduced by $17 million for the 2013 fiscal year, and indicates new applications will be denied.

The department also indicated the Secure Communities program is more consistent, efficient and cost effective in identifying and arresting those violating immigration laws than 287(g).

Knox County has been a part of the Secure Communities program since June 2010 and was the first in the state.

Knox County Sheriff Jimmy "J.J." Jones released a statement Tuesday afternoon saying he had not been informed of the denial:

"As of this time we have not received any information from ICE concerning the 287(g) program.  It would be inappropriate for me to comment on this matter until such time I receive confirmation or denial from an appropriate official.

It is unfortunate that we have received numerous media requests asking for comments regarding the denial of the program when we have received no official communication from the agency."


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