Officers in Tennessee are required to verify the immigration status of any individual they feel may be in their state illegally. This is mandated under the provision of 287(g) a section of the Immigration and Naturalization Act that was created to address immigration violators who posed a threat to national security and public safety. Because of this obligatory act, officers often times find themselves acting as immigration agents and their typical law enforcement duties are being put on the back burner.
Although the intentions for this act were in the right place, many people feel as if it has been taken out of context and the officers at the Davidson County Sheriff’s Office have been accused of abusing the rights of immigrants. Most arrests and deportations are made because of simple crimes such as traffic violations and even more minuscule, fishing without a license.
One of the most infamous arrests was made in 2008, Juana Villegas, was pulled over for a traffic violation and her information was ran under the 287(g). She just happened to be nine months pregnant at the time and two days later, bound by hand and foot, gave birth to her son, under the guarded eye of Sheriff’s in a Nashville Hospital.
Since signing under the 287(g) Davidson County Sheriff’s Office have processed more than 10,000 immigrants resulting in thousands of deportations and made an astonishing 80% reduction rate of illegal immigrants. Fulfilling their duties, the Davidson County Sheriff’s Office made the announcement that they will not continue to participate with this act, beginning in October. Detective Daron Hall stated “I believe its success is the reason we can sit here today and say it is no longer needed.”