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.
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.
On June 23, 2016, the Supreme Court released its ruling on US v. Texas, a 4-4 split decision that results in a continued injunction against DAPA and expanded DACA. (To read AKIN’s official statement on the ruling, click here.)
In response, members and allies of the Comité Popular and AKIN marched in downtown Knoxville to express our disappointment over this outcome.
At 6pm tonight, AKIN and other allies will join the Comite Popular at the Birdhouse to give a statement on the Supreme Court’s Decision in US v. Texas, which continues the injunction of President Obama’s executive orders on Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) and the expansion of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).
From 7 – 7:30 pm, we will gather at the intersection of Gay and Magnolia to begin a sidewalk procession through Downtown Knoxville, ending at Krutch Park.
At 8pm, we will have a program with speakers and music at Krutch Park Extension.
Join us to learn more about the Supreme Court decision and what we can do next to support immigrant families in our communities.
Tie in Supreme Court Means Immigration Program Still Blocked for Now
AKIN Deplores Decision and Will Join Events Tonight at 6 and 8
Knoxville, TN – This morning, Allies of Knoxville’s Immigrant Neighbors (AKIN) greeted with severe disappointment a tied decision in the U.S. Supreme Court that will leave in place an injunction presently blocking President Obama’s 2014 administrative program known as Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) and its companion program of expanded Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (expanded DACA). Tonight AKIN members and allies will join events called by local immigrants’ rights group, the Comité Popular, at 6 pm at the Birdhouse and 8pm in Krutch Park Extension to condemn this decision and pledge on-going commitment to making our community, state and nation a welcoming place for immigrants and refugees.
Nashville – This afternoon, the Tuition Equality bill failed to pass in the House on a vote of 49-47, lacking the constitutional majority (50) required for passage. Three members were not present for the vote. The bill was referred back to Calendar and Rules and can be reconsidered next legislative session, without having to be reconsidered in the Senate or committees it has already passed.
When TIRRC youth members gathered on graduation day in May of 2012 to announce their campaign for Tuition Equality, they pledged to one another that they would educate their community, lobby lawmakers, and tell their stories until Tuition Equality was a reality in Tennessee. After three years of campaigning, we are disappointed but not deterred by today’s vote. The fact that the bill passed the Senate last Thursday by a vote of 21-12 and earned the support of 49 House members is a testament to the leadership and resilience of TIRRC’s youth members.
Following is the text of a letter AKIN sent to the Department of Homeland Security raising concerns over Sheriff Jones’ request for 287(g) delegation of immigration authority.
Dear Secretary Napolitano and Director Morton:
Fifteen months ago, allies of immigrants, advocacy groups, and faith based organizations in Knox County accidentally found out that secret negotiations were ocurring between Knox County Sheriff J.J. Jones and officials from ICE regarding implementing a 287(g) MOA in Knox County, TN.