Contrary to what some people might believe, Nashville officials will work with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers to make a criminal arrest of an illegal alien.
But Nashville officials will not cooperate with ICE officers to help them enforce existing federal immigration laws.
This, according to ICE spokesman Bryan Cox who told The Tennessee Star this week that this issue of what Nashville officials will and will not do for ICE confuses many people.
“I know it gets really complicated really fast, and I think this is why most people don’t fully understand what’s going on,” Cox said.
“The easiest way I can explain it is that (it’s) a deportation order, a removal order. You go to court. A federal immigration judge hears the case. Some people win. Some people lose. If a person is ordered removed by a federal immigration judge then that is a judicial order.”
As reported this week, authorities arrested illegal immigrant Franklin Jefferson Pineda-Caceres, 18, for allegedly kidnapping and beating a Nashville high school student.
The U.S. Department of Justice charged Pineda-Caceres with re-entering America illegally, which means he faces up to two year behind bars and a $250,000 fine.
Pineda-Caceres was deported in 2016 after he was caught illegally entering the United States two years earlier. Previously, Metro police arrested him in 2017 on drug crimes. After being arrested, he was again deported in 2018 but re-entered the country illegally.
Outgoing Nashville Mayor David Briley recently signed an executive order mandating that city officials not cooperate with ICE.
Nashville Police officers, though, arrested Pineda-Caceres, who allegedly has ties to the gang MS-13.
“But that is a federal charge — illegal re-entry after deportation. Nashville will work with us sometimes but not other times. Federal law is designed to work together. There is criminal law. There is civil law. Removal orders issued by a federal immigration judge are judicial orders,” Cox said.
“It’s a federal judge issuing an order, but it’s a civil order. So, basically, what you have for Davidson County is that if a person is being criminally prosecuted then they’ll honor that. But if there is a judicial order issued by a federal immigration judge that says deport this person then they (Nashville) won’t work with us on that.”
Nashville also will not notify ICE when they release an illegal immigrant from custody, Cox said.
“In a theoretical sense, if this person or any other person facing serious criminal charges were to end up in Davidson County custody they (Nashville) would, per their policy, release that individual rather than cooperate with ICE,” Cox said.
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