FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: August 27, 2019CONTACT: Hamp Price, email@example.com, 256-749-6420
TIRRC Responds to Reports of Davidson County’s Probation Office Partnering with ICEImmigrant Rights Organization Calls on City to Enact Countywide Policies
NASHVILLE, TN - Today, Carley Gordon, a reporter with WSMV, broke a story detailing how Nashville’s probation department has been closely collaborating with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents to arrest and detain individuals who are under probation supervision. The report shows that Probation Director Robert Green and members of his staff helped ICE to apprehend individuals who were reporting to probation offices, including by alerting ICE agents about probation appointments and sharing clients’ home and work addresses.
The report further shows that Mr. Green’s office also provided ICE with the personal contact information of other unsuspecting individuals, such as emergency contacts given by probation clients.
“By setting up traps for Nashvillians who are doing everything they can to fulfill their court obligations, Nashville’s probation department has further driven a wedge between immigrant communities and the criminal justice system,” said Mary Kathryn Harcombe, legal director at the Tennessee Immigrant & Refugee Rights Coalition (TIRRC). “ICE and our local government agencies are creating a seamless pipeline between our criminal justice system and deportation. Even routine encounters with law enforcement can result in the separation of families when we allow ICE to use our jails, our courtrooms, and our probation departments. This kind of entanglement undermines the mission of these agencies and the values of our city.”
TIRRC has been educating residents, candidates, and policymakers on the countless ways that ICE agents are using our local government, especially our criminal justice system, to carry out their agenda of mass deportations. Today’s news is the latest in a series of events that highlight Metro’s role in immigration enforcement, including how MNPD officers assisted ICE is a highly publicized attempted arrest in Hermitage and the agreement Davidson County Sheriff Daron Hall has with ICEto rent out bed space, making it easier for federal agents to conduct arrests in our communities.
“The time for public statements and promises is over. The events of the last two months demonstrate the urgency for clear, transparent policies from our Metro Government that draw a bright line between the work of our municipal agencies and federal immigration enforcement,” said Stephanie Teatro, co-executive director of TIRRC. “The lack of clear policy directives allows individuals to pursue their own anti-immigrant agenda rather than following the mission and best interest of their office and the city, and lets ICE use public employees as aids in their enforcement operations. In this historic moment, we need to go beyond welcoming and take real action to protect immigrant families. The Sheriff should immediately terminate his agreement that allows ICE to use our jails as a detention facility, our judges should prohibit ICE from using our courtrooms and probation offices as a trap to arrest unsuspecting Nashvillians, and our mayor and city council should enact policies to ensure every single city agency has a clear policy in place to protect immigrant families.”
Earlier this year, TIRRC released a platform for policymakers in Nashville called Beyond Welcoming: A Platform for Immigrant Inclusion for the Next Government of Nashville & Davidson County. The twenty-page platform, designed with the input of 5,000 local immigrant and refugee residents and 40 organizational partners, is meant to serve as a roadmap for the next mayor and council. The platform details several policy changes, including prohibiting government agencies from sharing information about individuals scheduled appearances for probation proceedings.
“From protesting family separation in the streets of Nashville to protecting a neighbor in Hermitage, time and time again Nashvillians have stood up for our values and opposed every threat to the safety of immigrant and refugee families. It’s time for our policies and elected officials to reflect the values, sense of responsibility, and urgency that Nashvilians feel to protect immigrant families,” said Teatro. “We need explicit and transparent policies that ensure our city agencies and resources aren’t being used to help deport our neighbors.”
TIRRC is a statewide, immigrant and refugee-led collaboration whose mission is to empower immigrants and refugees throughout Tennessee to develop a unified voice, defend their rights, and create an atmosphere in which they are recognized as positive contributors to the state. Since its founding in 2001, TIRRC has worked to develop immigrant leadership, build the capacity of its immigrant-led member organizations, help immigrant community members understand and engage in the civic process, and educate the public about policies that would better promote integration of new immigrants and facilitate their full participation in US society. In just a few years TIRRC has grown from a grassroots network of community leaders into one of the most diverse and effective coalitions of its kind, a model for emerging immigrant rights organizations in the Southeast and throughout the United States.For more information visit www.tnimmigrant.org.