Category Archives: Campaigns

Questions for Sheriff Jones

by Ann Jefferson

Following up on John Stewart’s guest column on 287(g) in the online News Sentinel of July 3, I would like to pose the question to Sheriff Jones: Why the urgency to deputize the Knox County Sheriff’s Office personnel to carry out federal responsibilities? As a citizen and taxpayer of the county I just can’t see the need for it.

I was one of a group of residents of Knox county who recently attempted to get some answers to troubling questions about the program 287(g) that, according to the ICE web site, has been approved for the county. Neither the sheriff nor his assistant was available to meet with us. Why is all this going on behind closed doors?

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Is 287(g) representative of human liberty?

by Grant A. Mincy

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Photo Credit: Lee Sessions

Here we are, just a group of Knoxvillians rolling into the July 4th weekend. It’s June 30th at 9:30 am. Rain patters and dampens the Scruffy City. We stand across the street from the City County Building in the thick ambiance of Knoxville. Trains whistle forlorn on a gray morning, cars and city trucks hustle and bustle about while church bells chime in the background. There are 18 of us from all different walks of life. We stand in an inter-generational meeting, some of us people of faith, university professors, community college professors, Knox County school teachers, retirees, lawyers, laborers and even a young one donning a “Change the World” t-shirt. We have gathered on this humid and weepy morning out of collective concern for our great city and neighbors.

Continue reading Is 287(g) representative of human liberty?

The Declaration of Independence and the sheriff

by John G. Stewart

What a coincidence. Here we are, on July Fourth, celebrating the signing of our Declaration of Independence from a tyrannical British monarch who denied our colonial forebears their basic democratic rights and, at the same time, we discover that Knox County Sheriff Jimmy “J.J.” Jones has signed a secret agreement with U.S. Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE) that places at severe risk the democratic rights of thousands of our Knox County neighbors.

Granted, Jones is a bad reincarnation of King George III, but the denial of democratic rights we have witnessed in how he has gone about arranging for Knox County’s acceptance of the so-called 287(g) authority is a case-book example of arbitrary and non-democratic decision-making. Our founders declared they had had enough of the King’s “ … repeated injuries and usurpations.”

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Knox County 287(g) MOA appears on ICE website

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Photo Credit: Ralph Hutchison

It is our great disappointment to inform you that a 287(g) memorandum of agreement (MOA) signed by Knox County and ICE has appeared on the ICE website.  You can read the MOA here.

In the absence of any explanation to the Knoxville community by either ICE or Knox County Sheriff Jimmy “JJ” Jones, we assume this means that the 287(g) program is going forward.

Continue reading Knox County 287(g) MOA appears on ICE website

What is 287(g) and why do we oppose it?

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Photo Credit: Meghan Conley

by Meghan Conley and Fran Ansley

What is 287(g)?

287(g) is a voluntary program through which state and local law enforcement agencies can choose to have their officers trained and deputized to act as Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents. The program uses local resources to enforce federal immigration law.[i]

What is the history of 287(g) in Knox County?

Knox County Sheriff Jimmy “JJ” Jones first applied to join the 287(g) program in 2009. Immigrants’ rights advocates in Knoxville and beyond mounted a hard-fought campaign in opposition to the proposal, and federal authorities eventually denied the sheriff’s application in 2013. Many in Knox County remember Jones’ alarming and dehumanizing response to this rejection: “I will continue to enforce these federal immigration violations with or without the help of U.S Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). If need be, I will stack these violators like cordwood in the Knox County Jail until the appropriate federal agency responds.” In February 2017, Jones renewed his application. Local state and national groups have objected. ICE has not yet announced a decision. Update: We recently learned that a signed memorandum of agreement (MOA) between ICE and Knox County Sheriff Jimmy “JJ” Jones has appeared on the ICE website.  For more information, click here.

Continue reading What is 287(g) and why do we oppose it?

287(g) Community Briefing

Update: We recently learned that a signed memorandum of agreement (MOA) between ICE and Knox County Sheriff Jimmy “JJ” Jones has appeared on the ICE website.  For more information, click here.

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Photo Credit: Meghan Conley

Please join us for a community briefing to learn more about Knox County’s recent application for 287(g).  The 287(g) program, which authorizes local police to act as immigration agents, has a proven track record of abuses and civil rights violations. 

We will discuss the current status of 287(g) in Knox County and what we have already done to fight back.  Please join us to learn how you can be involved.

What: 287(g) Community Briefing
When: Saturday, May 20, 2 – 4 pm
Where: St. James Episcopal Church

287(g) back in play!

Update: We recently learned that a signed memorandum of agreement (MOA) between ICE and Knox County Sheriff Jimmy “JJ” Jones has appeared on the ICE website.  For more information, click here.

Despite our previously successful efforts from 2012-2013 to prevent the implementation of 287(g) in Knox County, we are now in a new situation because the Trump administration intends to expand this program across the country.   AKIN learned recently that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is presently considering 287(g) applications from 18 counties across the country, including one from the Knox County Sheriff’s Office.

Background and some history

For those who are unfamiliar with this program, 287(g) encourages collaboration between ICE and local law enforcement.  If Knox County’s application for 287(g) is approved, county deputies who work in the jail will be trained as ICE officers and will be able to question inmates about their documentation status and initiate deportation proceedings against those who are found to be undocumented.  In effect, this program will increase the number of local officials involved in immigration enforcement.

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TN Faith Leaders Support Tuition Equality

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Photo Credit: Ralph Hutchison

Over the course of the spring 2016 session of the General Assembly, in anticipation of a vote on Tuition Equality in the Tennessee House, AKIN convened a working group of people of faith to try to make sure that area representatives heard from faith leaders supportive of Tuition Equality.  Eventually two letters were circulated within local faith circles.  The texts were similar, with one speaking from a Christian perspective and the other from an interfaith perspective.   Together the letters were signed by ninety faith leaders from Knoxville and surrounding communities, from a range of different denominations and faith traditions, people who live and worship in many legislative districts across our area.  The letters were sent to over a dozen members of the Tennessee House.  

Immigrant Students Want to Learn

Tuition Equality Poster 2
Photo Credit: Lee Sessions

Help Build Support for Tuition Equality!

Many students are presently locked out, with dreams on hold — Each year, undocumented students graduate from Tennessee high schools with hopes of continuing their education and starting a career that benefits our state and strengthens our communities. However, no matter how long they have lived in Tennessee or what their potential is, undocumented Tennessee students must pay out-of-state rates that often total more than three times the tuition their in-state classmates pay to attend a public college or university—even if they meet the same residency requirements as their peers. For many this barrier is insurmountable.

 

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