Category Archives: News

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?

Continue reading Questions for Sheriff Jones

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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.”

Continue reading The Declaration of Independence and the sheriff

Press statement: Knox County 287(g) MOA appears on ICE website

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

June 28, 2017

Knox County 287(g) Memorandum of Agreement Appears on ICE Website

Knoxville, TN—We are disappointed to learn that a 287(g) memorandum of agreement (MOA), signed by both ICE and Knox County Sheriff Jimmy “JJ” Jones, has appeared on ICE’s website. The MOA was signed by Sheriff Jones on June 13, 2017 and by Matthew Albence, Executive Associate Director of ICE Enforcement and Removal Operations, on June 15, 2017. The MOA is available here: https://www.ice.gov/doclib/foia/memorandumsofAgreementUnderstanding/KnoxCounty.pdf.

Sheriff Jones has not publicly acknowledged Knox County’s approval for 287(g). The lack of transparency surrounding the program’s approval and timeline for implementation mirrors the Sheriff’s ongoing refusal to meet with Knox County residents to hear concerns about the program.

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

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?

Press statement: Knox County 287(g) memorandum of agreement appears on ICE website

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

June 28, 2017

Knox County 287(g) Memorandum of Agreement Appears on ICE Website

 

Knoxville, TN—We are disappointed to learn that a 287(g) memorandum of agreement (MOA), signed by both ICE and Knox County Sheriff Jimmy “JJ” Jones, has appeared on ICE’s website. The MOA was signed by Sheriff Jones on June 13, 2017 and by Matthew Albence, Executive Associate Director of ICE Enforcement and Removal Operations, on June 15, 2017. The MOA is available here: https://www.ice.gov/doclib/foia/memorandumsofAgreementUnderstanding/KnoxCounty.pdf.

Sheriff Jones has not publicly acknowledged Knox County’s approval for 287(g). The lack of transparency surrounding the program’s approval and timeline for implementation mirrors the Sheriff’s ongoing refusal to meet with Knox County residents to hear concerns about the program.

Continue reading Press statement: Knox County 287(g) memorandum of agreement appears on ICE website

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.

Continue reading 287(g) back in play!

Post-election Message

We are sure many of you are feeling as stunned and worried as we are about the election results and about what is in store for everyone in our country — most especially for immigrants and refugees.

Please know that AKIN is already working with others in the immigrants’  rights movement and with allied groups to make sense of what is happening and to plan for ways to push back against the dangerous dynamics now in play.  For instance, the weekend after the election several members of AKIN, together with several members of the Comité Popular de Knoxville, traveled to Black Mountain, NC to attend a conference of grassroots immigrants’ rights groups from across the Southeast.  Further, organizers from the Tennessee Immigrant & Refugee Rights Coalition (TIRCC) visited Knoxville around that same time, and among other things they met with a number of young DREAMers close to AKIN and the Comité Popular.  Their discussion included the future of DACA and a plan for coming back to the General Assembly in the spring with a new bill aimed at achieving better access to higher education for immigrant youth.

Continue reading Post-election Message