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2021

2021

Knox County Law Director Appeals Order that KSCO pay $78,000

January 4, 2021

Knox County Law Director David Buuk quietly appeals the court's order that KCSO pay $78,000 in attorney's fees in Dr. Meghan Conely's public records lawsuit. This contradicts Sheriff Spangler's earlier statement that he would not appeal the decision (74).

To read about the next update in this case, click here.

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New Biden Immigration Policies Spell Doom for 287(g) Enforcement Efforts

February 10, 2021

In an article in the Knox News Sentinel, Tyler Whetstone reports that 287(g) is likely "to fade away under new rules from the Biden administration." Biden's new enforcement priorities direct sheriffs' departments to focus on only certain immigration cases—these cases make up only around 15% of the cases KCSO has handled. The former district attorney and current sheriff''s office counsel Randy Nichols says "we believe the program has probably seen its last days" (91).

Report Shows that Knox County Sheriff Failed
to Get Proper Approval for 287(g)

April 1, 2021

Knox News Sentinel and Compass Knox publish an article that draws attention to Dr. Meghan Conley's discovery of KCSO's failure to receive the proper approval for the 287 (g) program. A 2007 amendment to Tennessee's employment laws allows local police to enter into federal immigration enforcement agreements "upon approval by the governing legislative body." A 2018 state law also required the Sheriff's Office to provide notice to the governor and Legislature upon entering into any federal immigration agreements. The Knox County Sheriff's Office never received approval from the "governing legislative body" nor provided notice to the governor or Legislature, raising questions about the contract's legality.

Representatives from the Sheriff's Office argue that the 287(g) contract does not constitute immigration enforcement, despite ICE's website saying 287(g) agreements "permit designated officers to perform limited immigration law enforcement functions." The legal director of the Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition describes KCSO's argument as "silly." William Gill, an associate professor of law at Lincoln Memorial University's Duncan School of Law agrees and points to the first sentence of the agreement that states ICE is delegating "the authority to perform certain immigration enforcement functions as specified" to KCSO. (92).

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Students for Migrant Justice and ICE Out of East TN Respond to 287(g) News 

April 1, 2021

Students for Migrant Justice and ICE Out of East TN respond to the recent news that the Knox County Sheriff did not get the proper approval for 287(g). Click the pictures below to read the full statements.

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(97) 2021 SMJ Response

(98) 2021 IOETN Response

AKIN, Students for Migrant Justice, and ICE Out of East TN
Host Emergency Community Meeting

April 3, 2021

Allies of Knoxville's Immigrant Neighbors, Students for Migrant Justice, and ICE Out of East TN host an emergency community meeting to discuss "the news that 287(g) is an unlawful and illegitimate program" (99).

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(9) 2021 Emergency Community Meeting

Students Paint "1300+ People Illegally Detained" on Rock at the University of Tennessee

April 3, 2021

Students paint the rock at the University of Tennessee with the message: "1300+ people illegally detained" (100).

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(100) Students Paint Rock 1

Students Paint "Shame on Sheriff Spangler #END287g #AbolishICE" on Rock at the University of Tennessee

April 4, 2021

Students paint the rock at the University of Tennessee with the message: "Shame on Sheriff Spangler #End287g #AbolishICE" (101).

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(101) Students Paint Rock 2

Students Paint "All of Knoxville is Complicit" on Rock at
the University of Tennessee

April 5, 2021

Students paint the rock at the University of Tennessee with the message: "All of Knoxville is Complicit! Show Up: City Council Meeting 4/6 @ 6pm" (102).

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(102) Students Paint Rock 3

Knox County Commissioners Reluctant to Tackle
Legality of Immigration Enforcement

April 5, 2021

Despite the recent revelations about the legality of Knox County's 287(g) contract, "the county legislative body's Republican members have expressed little appetite for asserting their oversight powers, mostly deferring to the county's law director's office."

 

Commissioners Courtney Durrett and Dasha Lundy, on the other hand, wish to investigate the program, pointing to recent settlements KCSO was required to pay (93).

Knoxvillians Read Knox News Sentinel and Compass Knox Article
at City Council Meeting

April 6, 2021

During the public forum portion of a city council meeting, Knoxvillians read the article published by the Knox News Sentinel and Compass Knox that announces that Knox County failed to receive proper approval for the 287(g) program. They seek to highlight the City of Knoxville's participation in the County's 287(g) contract, in light of the recent news that "287(g) is unlawful" (105). Click here to read the article.

 

Each person uses their allotted time to read a portion of the article until the entire article has been read. They also demand that "KPD end their active participation in the illegitimate contracts by ceasing to book people subject to discretionary arrests through any KCSO-operated facility, City Government tells Sheriff Spangler to rescind the 287(g) and detention bed contracts, City Council Decrease KPD's budget" (105).

Students Paint END 287(g) Message on Rock at
the University of Tennessee

April 6, 2021

Students paint the rock at the University of Tennessee with an end 287(g) message (103).

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(103) Students Paint Rock 4

Knox County Commissioners Will Discuss Legality of 287(g)

April 6, 2021

Commissioner Charles Busler asks to put the issue of 287(g)'s legality on the Commission's April Agenda (94).

Students Paint "Fuck ICE, cops, Spangler #END287g" on Rock at
the University of Tennessee

April 7, 2021

Students paint the rock at the University of Tennessee with the message: "Fuck ICE, cops, Spangler #END287g" (104).

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(104) Students Paint Rock 5

End 287(g) Phone Zap

April 18 2021

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Students for Migrant Justice and ICE Out of East TN encourage people to "call or email the Knox County Sheriff and County Commissioners to relay our community demands" (112). They demand that Sheriff Spangler end the 287(g) program and detention bed contract and resign. They also demand that the Knox County Commission publicly oppose the end of the contracts, release a statement encouraging Sheriff Spangler to resign, and decrease KCSO's operating budget (112).

Comments under Students for Migrant Justice's Instagram post report people from Sheriff Spangler's office being "rude" on the calls (112). 

(112) END 287(g) Phone Zap

Knoxvillians Speak Out About 287(g) at County Comission Meeting

April 19, 2021

Knoxvillians speak out against 287(g) at a Knox County Commission Meeting. Public comment on 287(g) begins around 0:18:45. 

 

During the meeting, Students for Migrant Justice demands the following:

  • The Knox County Commission pass an ordinance decrying the fact that the Knox County Sheriff's Office declined to seek county approval for the 287(g) contract;

  • County Commission confirm the immediate cancellation of all contracts violating state law;

  •  County Commission support the resignation of Sheriff Spangler;

  •  County Commission divest from the Knox County Sheriff's Office and pay restitution to those unlawfully detained under 287(g) (109).

Sheriff Spangler Submits Late Notice for 287(g) Contract

April 21, 2021

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Sheriff Spangler notifies Lt. Governor McNally, Governor Bill Lee, and Speaker Cameron Sexton of the Knox County Sheriff's Office's agreement with ICE. (107).

(107) Sheriff Spangler Submits Late Notice of 287(g) Contract

Detention Bed Funding is Set at $17,928 for Next 12 Months

June 6, 2021

KCSO orders 216 detention beds from ICE for the next 12 months. The reimbursement rate is $83 per bed per day, making the total 12-month funding allocated for the detention bed contract $17,928 (90).

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(90) Detention Bed Funding Set at $17,928 for Next 12 Months

Knox County Shifts Reasons for Why It Didn't Follow Laws on
Immigration Enforcement

June 9, 2021

An article in the Knox News Sentinel and Compass Knox outlines the various reasons Knox County officials have cited as to why they didn't receive proper approval for the 287(g) program. They are:

1. They incorrectly asserted the 2007 law applies only to employment agreements.

2. They incorrectly asserted one of the laws applies because 287(g) is not "enforcement"

3. They incorrectly asserted the 2007 law was superseded by the 2018 law

4. They incorrectly relied on Buuck's inclusion of the U.S. Constitution's Supremacy Clause (106)

AKIN Sends Formal Complaint to Department of Homeland Security

September 7, 2021

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AKIN sends a formal complaint to the Department of Homeland Security Secretary, Alejandro Mayorkas, calling on him to "immediately act within his authority to immediately terminate Knox County's unlawful 287(g) program." They argue that "KCSO officials have exhibited a pattern of misconduct and mismanagement,' citing their failure to adhere to federal and sate law (96).

(96) AKIN Sends Formal Complain to DHS

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Appeal is Heard in Open Records Lawsuit

October 13, 2021

Knox County's Appeal of Dr. Meghan Conley's open records lawsuit is heard via Zoom. The trial court ruling is upheld on the merits—that KCSO willfully violated the Tennessee Public Records Act. 

(108) Meghan Conley v. Knox County Sheriff, Et Al.

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Maira Oviedo-Granadas Sues Knox County Over Illicit Immigration Enforcement Program

November 10, 2021

Maira Oviedo-Granados sues Sheriff Spangler and Mayor Jacobs after being detained under Knox County's "illicit immigration enforcement program." She seeks $2.5 million and punitive damages. She also asserts that "her injuries and [the] civil rights violations inflicted on her are typical of more than 1,000 people." This lawsuit "opens the door to a class-action lawsuit that could seek to punish the county and its leadership for unlawfully participating in the program" (95).

To read Maira Oviedo-Granados' story, please click here.

To read Maria Ovievo-Granados' lawsuit, please click here.

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