Starting in October, jailers in Nashville’s Davidson County no longer will interrogate and initiate charges against suspected illegal immigrants who are arrested, reports The Tennessean. Sheriff Daron Hall announced that his office will not renew its federal agreement to participate in the 287(g) immigration screening program, ending a policy that became divisive as it was litigated.
The 287(g) program allowed local jailers to function as immigration authorities. They could detain, file charges, and begin the deportation process for suspected illegal immigrants who passed through the jail. The program, which began in 2007, processed more than 10,000 suspected illegal immigrants in Davidson County. Hall declared it an “overwhelming success,” but critics said it tore apart immigrant families because the sheriff detained and earmarked for deportation many nonviolent immigrants who had committed minor offenses. For years defense and immigration attorneys have questioned the program's legality.