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Federal lawsuit: Tenn. county judge acts as ICE cop

January 29, 2012 (1 min read)

"Nashville immigration attorney Elliott Ozment’s crusade against state officials who attempt to enforce federal immigration law continued this week with the filing of a federal lawsuit against Maury County government and General Sessions Judge Bobby Sands.  According to the lawsuit, Victor Manuel Ramirez-Mendoza appeared in Sands’ court Jan. 26, 2011, after he was arrested for driving on a suspended license a week earlier. The judge ordered Ramirez-Mendoza turned over to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, according to the lawsuit, and the Maury County Sheriff’s Department complied.  “It’ll be better to send him to Mexico because he’s costing us a lot of money here,” the lawsuit quotes Sands as saying during an exchange with Ramirez-Mendoza’s public defender.  Ozment said that limited-jurisdiction General Sessions courts have no authority to enforce federal immigration law and that the Maury County Sheriff’s Department also cannot investigate, apprehend or detain suspected illegal immigrants absent a formal partnership with ICE." - The Tennessean, Jan. 28, 2012.