Thursday, July 10, 2008

BREAKING NEWS ... Outrage! Mother and newborn child separated and hurt by 287g in Nashville

Of all the inhumanity and devastation heaped upon immigrant families by Metro Nashville’s 287g deportation program, the very worst has been leveled this week against a pregnant woman pulled over, handcuffed and forced to have her baby under custody.

Then, to add insult to this grevious injury, the infant was taken from its mother’s arms as she was taken back to jail.

If this is not enough of an outrage for Nashvillians to finally speak up and demand the end to this punitive program, then let the heavens fall on each of us. … for we have deserted the God we believe in and a nation of fairness and family values we cherish.

Here is all that Juana Villegas DeLaPaz did wrong in the 2800 block of Bransford, according to one advocate:

“She was pulled over by the Berry Hill Police Department as she left a prenatal clinic. She had her three other children with her. She showed a current car registration but had no license. She also showed a matricular card.

“ The police asked her to call someone who could come and drive them and the car home. She called her husband's brother, he came, spoke to police, and then was ready to drive the car home when the cop decided that the pregnant mom was going to jail. He handcuffed her and drove her to jail. Another cop who was nearby … came to speak with the uncle after the mom was driven away.

“The cop said he would have never arrested her, and that it was wrong to arrest her. But that he couldn't do anything about it.”

This afternoon, Metro Police spokesman Don Aaron sent out an electronic press release stating that Metro Police were not involved in this outrage. I believe him. Aaron has always been honest with me. And Chief Serpas has viewed Sheriff Daron Hall’s 287g program as a burden to his fine forces trying to fight real crime committed by real criminals.

“The arrest report and the arrest warrant were both completed by Berry Hill Police Officer Coleman,” Aaron said. “As some of you are aware, the Berry Hill Police Department is a completely separate agency with its own Chief and staff.”

After arrest and incarceration, Ms. DeLaPaz had her baby at Metro General Hospital.

The advocate says: “Its staff called the father to ask him to pick up the baby. They did this, but couldn't see the mom because she was sent back to jail. The mom has some type of hearing ... (the family doesn't know if it is for migration or for whatever charges they booked her on.). The mom hasn't been able to call home. And now the two-day-old baby is without its mother, and who knows what the medical condition of the mother is.”

At 3 a.m. today -- under the cover of darkness and stain of embarrassment -- local legal authorities released Ms. DeLaPaz to return home and tardily nurse her child.

But the outrage remains, burning deep underneath a skin already rubbed raw by previous inhumanity under 287g in Nashville.

Every mother knows that every moment your newborn can receive the immunizing milk from her breast, then the child’s lifetime will be more protected. Beyond the physical, what is the mental damage and anguish to the mother and child from incaceration and separation?

I don’t know, but I sure hope a jury of Nashville mothers determines the amount.

The outrageous treatment of Ms. DeLaPaz and her newborn is only the latest inhumanity devastating Nashville immigrant families. Many advocates have been trying to get Nashville’s attention to the wrong that have been transpiring the past 14 months in this city of more than 1,000 places of worship.

If these hallowed places and their believers still cannot summon a voice of indignation about 287g with their knowledge of what has happened to Ms. DeLaPaz and her newborn, then each of these sacred sites should be turned into a bowling alley. That way, at least, they would serve some noticeable good. Right now with 287g, they are just four walls. God is not there. He is with people like Ms. DeLaPaz and their families.

Here is what you can do if you are moved by what has happened to this innocent mother and newborn child:

Contact Sheriff Daron Hall, the person who sponsored the program for Nashville, and Congressman Jim Cooper, the man whose district this plan has been allowed to operate. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security gives approval to counties like Davidson to adopt such programs dealing with immigration law -- which is a federal responsibility. The department also gives congressional members -- whose districts will be affected -- the ability to object to the approval of the program.

Richard Rocha, DHS spokesperson for ICE and 287g, told me last week that Cooper has not filed any objection to 287g in Nashville. If he did, that would carry some political weight. Hall and Cooper are both Democrats, which is ironic considering that their party says it favors steps toward legalization of all undocumented immigrants -- not punitive action like arresting pregnant women outside prenatal clinics, making them have their children under police custody, then ripping their babies from them after birth and sending the mothers back to jail.

Sheriff Hall sold the program to Nashville about two years ago, promising to only go after undocumented criminals who were a threat to each of us. Instead, he has assisted in deporting more than 3,000 heads of households -- the vast majority having no criminal record at all. The only threat they pose is to Hall's re-election.

With the outrageous treatment of a mother and her newborn, Sheriff Hall will try and dance around this matter as he has with 287g's malfunction in Nashville. He'll say that officially Ms. DeLaPaz was not in his custody because her state charges of driving without a license were still being adjudicated. But we know that people like Ms. DeLaPaz are automatically a target because of the presence of 287g, at least that is what Hispanics and their advocates of all races and citizenship say. Hall brought 287g to Nashville. He should now be made to accept its consequences. Nashville is in Cooper's district. He should no longer be allowed to hide his eyes.

Nashville, wake up!

Call Sheriff Hall at (615) 862-8170. Call Congressman Cooper at (615) 736-5295 or (202) 225-4311.

Or send an e-mail at or go to For Cooper, go to and click "Contact."

Nashville, please see the outrage!

Do you not care for your mothers and their newborn children of all races and ethnicities?!


Mothers who love their children, please speak up for one of your own!


Tell Sheriff Hall and Congressman Cooper to stop the 287g program in Nashville, lest more mothers be handcuffed outside of prenatal clinics and more newborns ripped from their arms.


BPieper said...

To contact Rep. Cooper, go to and click "Contact."

To contact the Sheriff's Office, either email or go to

Mr. Mack said...

Tim, the only place I'd disagree with you is that Serpas sits on the council, and is steadfast in his assertion that his officers MUST enforce the drivers license laws. While that is technically correct, the decision to arrest is at the line officer's discretion. He dances around that a good bit...

Anonymous said...

They should have deported the illegal invader before she had her kid.

I have no sympathy for her she broke the law, and does not respect our laws or our country.

Sietske said...

That is absolutely disgusting. It seems to me that most people forget that all immigrants ("illegal" and otherwise) are still human beings with rights. The political climate in the US frightens me sometimes.

On a personal note, when I was much younger, my family went to Nashville to renew my mother's green card. I poked around the immigration office for a bit and found plans stapled to the wall. According to the plans, there were holding cells in the basement.

DinTN said...

"Villegas was taken to a Nashville hospital on July 5 where she was restrained until two hours before she gave birth." That was labor time, she was not "shackeled" during labor.
"She was restrained again about six hours after the birth." Yes, because she was still under arrest.

It's no wonder Americans are beginning to associate the word "Latino" with illegal invader! It's people like you that are turning American citizens against all Latinos and causing the so called hatred of Latinos, no matter whether they are legal, ilegal. When legal Latio Citizens jump to the defence of an arrogant, illegal invader who chooses to deliberately disobey our laws and flaunt the system in front of our faces, you are the ones to cry racist and racial profiling!
You fail to mention her previous deportation order in your story. Why do you omit such important facts?

Legal Latinos should be appauled over the way you portray this woman.
This illegal was ordered deported back in the 90's; an order she deliberately refused to obey. She chose to stay in this country long enough to deliver four (count them! 1! 2! 3! 4!!) anchor babies! Try asking yourself, just who paid for those deliveries?
"Here is all that Juana Villegas DeLaPaz did wrong in the 2800 block of Bransford, according to one advocate:She was pulled over by the Berry Hill Police Department as she left a prenatal clinic. She had her three other children with her. She showed a current car registration but had no license. She also showed a matricular card."


She, technically, has been running from from the law from the very beginning when she refused to leave when ordered, therefore she is an immigration fugitive and likely to do it again. She's a criminal and all criminals are handcuffed even in a hospital, not just Mexicans!
Thousands of women go into labor while incarcerated, and they stay handcuffed too. Would you be so appauled if this was an American who gave birth while under arrest?
What about her husband? Is he an illegal also? Does he work? If he does, whose identity is he using for employment? Is he paying taxes to cover the cost of all those kids education? You should check out all the facts surrounding this family before jumping to their defence.
You just may get hit with mud in your face for not investigating further the situation with this woman. Omiting facts and nor reporting the whole story is doing nothing but adding to the anger of more Americans against Latinos.

Anonymous said...

Lots and lots of dramatics in that blog. You can't get away with a lot in Berry Hill, that is for sure. Missing brake lights, running stop signs, speeding, etc. will surely get you pulled over there. I wonder why that lady was pulled over. There isn't any mention of that.

What really gets me is that there seems to be no mention of the fact that she is braking and has broke many laws. It is part of life to pay the consequences for doing something that is against the law even if we do not feel that it is wrong. It is still braking the law. We do not get to pick and choose which laws we want to follow.

I am very happy with the 287g efforts in Davidson county. Crime seems to be going down and I am one of those people that feels that laws should be enforced. And it because of babblings like yours that I think I am going to start working on taking away all of the freebies to illegals. The arrogance can be unbelieveable. There are some really great people breaking the laws to come here, but there are some really terrible ones too.

And I don't believe you are being honest with your quotes and who said whats.

Hopefully this lady will be deported. She had plenty of opportunity to get a license when they were giving them out and had the special lines at the DMV. Did she have car insurance? Did the car belong to her or her husband? I would guess 'no' on both accounts. I would go to jail if that was me so why should she be treated any differently? And why was she endangering herself, kids, and unborn by driving w/out a license and not any valid identification? Who paid for the delivery? Better not of been me.