KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Knox County Sheriff Tom Spangler said he would continue to renew the controversial 287(g) program as long as he is the sheriff.
Generally, the program gives deputies the power to act on behalf of federal immigration authorities. It allows deputies to interview people about their immigration status, gives deputies to ICE databases and transfer people into federal immigration custody.
In a video released Wednesday, the sheriff said that deputies will not go door-to-door checking on the immigration status of individuals.
"I have deliberated and decided that not only will I not rescind the current contract with the 297(g), but I will resign the renewal each time it is up as long as I am sheriff of Knox County," Spangler said in the video.
He also said that he spent a significant amount of time listening to critics and supporters of the program. He said that critics protested at the sheriff's office, his home and outside his church over the weekend.
Spangler also said that he heard from supporters of the program, specifically the Corcoran family. Their son, Pierce Corcoran, was killed in a car crash in 2018. The drive of the other car was in the U.S. illegally and was deported after the incident, according to officials.
Knox and Greene Counties are the only counties in Tennessee that participate in the program, according to ICE's website.