287(g) Program in Knox County
In one of his first executive orders, the president made clear that he would need local law enforcement to join his deportation force. The Knox County Sheriff, J.J. Jones, wasted no time. In March, we learned that he had applied for a 287(g) agreement, hoping that his employees would be able to help with mass deportations in Knox County. This week, we learned that Trump administration approved his application.
The 287(g) program is a formal agreement between local jurisdictions and the federal government that deputizes local law enforcement as immigration agents.
Sheriff J.J. Jones has a troubling record of civil rights violations, including pledging to "stack [immigrants] like cordwood" in his jails. That Knox County will acting as federal immigration enforcement agents is devastating news for all residents of Knox County, especially immigrant families who will be living under unthinkable fear of their local law enforcement. All residents suffer when critical law enforcement resources are diverted to separating families and public safety is undermined by eroded trust between immigrants and police.
While the program won't formally go into effect for a few months, our work to ensure the disastrous program is short-lived in Knox County begins today. We'll be working with our members and partners to monitor Sheriff Jones and his deputies, defend the rights of residents, and make sure that no other county follows Knox's lead by applying for 287(g). Stay tuned for ways you can take action!