To carry out his pledge of mass deportations, the Trump administration and their ICE agents have relied on the assistance of local law enforcement. Here in Nashville, they have used our jail as a detention facility and, as we saw Monday, are using our local police as aids, wittingly or unwittingly, in their arrests and intimidation of Nashvillians.
The disturbing videos and eye witness accounts demonstrate the need for clear policies and training in the police department. We hope the city will partner with immigrant communities to promote community trust and public safety.
Cities across the country understand the damage that entanglement - real or perceived - can do to community trust. When immigrant community members and their families associate local law enforcement with federal immigration enforcement, they are less likely to report being a victim or a witness to a crime - making the whole community less safe.
For the thousands and thousands of Nashvillians from immigrant families who watch the scene unfold via several live-streams, the image of MNPD vehicles alongside ICE agents will be embedded into their minds.
MNPD must re-establish trust by enacting and publicizing policies that draw a bright line between their work to protect and serve Nashvillians and the work of federal immigration officials. MNPD must refuse to help ICE carry out civil immigration enforcement in Davidson County, in any capacity.
All officers must be trained in how to respond to requests from ICE and in the limits of ICE’s authority. Police officers should be required to inform residents of their rights in the event they encounter ICE, as many do in our jails, courts, and probation systems.
In addition to these urgent policy reforms in MNPD, Sheriff Daron Hall should immediately terminate the agreement that allows ICE to detain people in our local jails.
The people of Nashville powerfully demonstrated our values when they defended their neighbor and prevented a family from being separated. Our local law enforcement policies should reflect these same values.
Thank you to the organizers at The MIX Nashville for working to shed light on the ways in which ICE uses MNPD to terrorize our communities.
You can learn more about what to do if you see ICE in your neighborhood by joining The MIX Nashville Saturday, July 27th from 2-5pm for a training on what to do if ICE shows up at your neighbor’s door, successful community defense strategies from Monday’s intervention, and multiple roles you can play to respond when you see ICE activity on the news or on social media. More information here.