Anti-Immigrant Law Sits on TN Governor's Desk
Monday, April 30, 2018
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Tennessee may claim the moniker "Volunteer State," but a bill awaiting Gov. Bill Haslam's signature frames the state as less than welcoming.
HB 2315, known as the "Anti-Sanctuary Bill," requires local governments to enforce deportation activities. Opponents say it's the most extreme legislation of its kind in the country and will come at a cost to more than just Tennessee's immigrant population.
Stephanie Teatro is co-executive director of the Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition.
"Tennesseans are going to be spending their local tax dollars supporting the work of the federal government,” Teatro said. “It means that immigrant families are going to have to fear calling the police, because they're going to know that police are now required to ask about immigration status, required to share information and detain people for ICE."
The ACLU of Tennessee also opposed the bill, calling it "a direct assault on our civil liberties and the quality of life in our welcoming state."
Haslam has 10 days to veto or sign the legislation, or he can allow it to become law without his signature. Supporters say it's needed to maintain current federal immigration law.
There are currently no sanctuary cities in Tennessee, and the bill would block some state funding from any cities who chose to offer sanctuary to undocumented immigrants. Some civil rights experts question the constitutionality of the bill, and Teatro is concerned about the damage to the state's reputation.
"We hope that the governor will veto this extreme bill that will make Tennessee a very dangerous place for immigrant families,” she said. “That will damage our state's reputation and our economy. "
Critics of the bill have said the legislation opens up local governments to potential lawsuits if they illegally detain someone.
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