NASHVILLE — The American Civil Liberties Union of Tennessee sent a letter today to officials with the Metro Probation Department, urging them to adopt policies that limit voluntary entanglement with federal immigration enforcement beyond that mandated by state and federal law.
The letter was sent in response to reports that the probation office routinely uses department resources to assist Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials in deportation efforts.
“Heartless practices like the probation department’s send a clear message to Tennessee’s immigrant communities that they can’t trust law enforcement,” said Hedy Weinberg, ACLU-TN executive director. “The probation department’s actions devastate the hard-won trust between immigrant communities and local law enforcement that is so critical to effective policing and ensuring public safety for all Tennesseans.”
The letter asks the department to implement policies that prohibit probation officers from expending resources and personnel time for the purposes of assisting federal immigration enforcement beyond what is mandated by state and federal law. The letter also urges the department to train probation officers on such policy changes.
“The probation department should be focused on using taxpayer funds to promote rehabilitation and restore losses to victims, in keeping with its mission,” said Brandon Tucker, ACLU-TN policy director. “Using local resources to help deport people with misdemeanors means Nashville is doing the federal government’s job, without compensation, and that is a waste of taxpayer dollars.”
The letter is available at: https://www.aclu-tn.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/Hassell_Letter_082919.pdf .