Unsigned: Haslam allows anti-sanctuary cities bill to become law

Critics call it the “mass deportation bill,” while supporters label it the “anti-sanctuary cities bill.” Either way, Republican Gov. Bill Haslam on Monday allowed the bill to become law without his signature.

The measure declares that municipalities can lose state grant funds if they loosen local rules involving illegal immigrants and requires state and local law enforcement officers to assist federal officials. Haslam has noted that “sanctuary cities” are already prohibited in Tennessee, despite concerns to the contrary from some of those urging him to sign the bill. He’s also argued that some concerns from the “immigrant community” seemed focused on provisions that were deleted from the measure prior to its final passage.

Here is the governor’s letter to legislative leaders explaining his decision:

Dear Speaker Harwell,

Federal immigration laws are important to the safety and security of our great country, but House Bill 2315 is a solution looking for a problem and has primarily served to stir up fear on both sides of the issue, which distracts from focusing on real problems as well as the opportunities in front of us. Sanctuary cities are already prohibited by state law and do not exist in Tennessee.

Opponents of this bill have argued that the bill is unconstitutional. Yet, amendments during the legislative process removed significant questions regarding the bill’s constitutionality. To be clear, this is not a mass deportation bill, and it does not require our law enforcement agencies to serve as immigration enforcement officials or make arrests based on immigration status.

In its final form, the bill prohibits the State and local governments from adopting ordinances, policies, or practices that subvert enforcement of federal law, and it permits-but does not require-local law enforcement to enter into agreements with federal agencies regarding cooperation. Tennessee law is already strong in this area. We prohibit ordinances and written policies that restrict local officials from complying with federal immigration laws, require employer verification of immigration status, encourage communication with federal agencies, and prohibit providing public benefits to those unlawfully in the United States. 

For these reasons and others, House Bill 2315 will become law without my signature.


Bill Haslam

cc: The Honorable Randy McNally, Lieutenant Governor and Speaker of the Senate

21 Responses to Unsigned: Haslam allows anti-sanctuary cities bill to become law

  • James White says:

    When will the US District attorneys bring charges against the cites that fail to report an illegal immigrant is in custody? Now will the TN District attorneys also do the same?

  • Tommy Ray McAnally says:

    WHITE another BINGO! I WILL DRINK TO THIS LAW. AMEN. Bill Thanks. Now let’s ROLL. Talk is OVER.

  • Bob Fischer says:

    We don’t need no stinking tenth amendment here. We’ll let the fed do it!

  • Leslie Parsley says:

    Hallelujah! A man who not only follows the law but also follows the TRUE word of God – unlike so many of the pretenders we see kicking up dirt around these parts, in the legislature and in congress. Oh yes, and in the White House.

  • Steve L. says:

    Another Republican ashamed to be labeled Conservatives. Apologist to the last. All that stood between Knoxville being a Welcoming City and a Sanctuary City, under Rogero, was the previous state law. Nashville found the loopholes in that law and almost exploited them, Governor. Other cities would have followed. Do not be obtuse.

  • Brenda Miller says:

    As we fight over illegal immigrants there are terrorist in our back yards. According to FBI documents the terrorist linked group Jamaat ul-Fuqra AKA Muslims of the Americas have or had a “village” in Dover, TN. Dover, TN is 67 miles W-NW of Nashville. Reports state this group is “armed and dangerous.” The group is headed by a radical cleric in Pakistan. The members have been known to engage in many types of fraud and more importantly they carried out attacks in US from 1970’s to early 1990’s. So as we fight over who can enter our country we should be paying attention to who is already here.

  • William Upton says:

    Too bad Haslam didn’t have the manhood to sign it. Isn’t Chattanooga already a sanctuary city?

  • cjmcd says:

    Haslam should have taken a stand one way or the other. Make a decision !

  • Brenda Miller says:

    See Clarion Project!

  • Brenda Miller says:

    Also CBS, Denver, Colorado, I believe, did piece a few months ago about MOA.

    • Steve L. says:

      Brenda, you are right. The FBI asked us to help them by being vigilant. So we will do our part to help. MAGA by being good citizens. Thanks for the reminder.

  • Brenda Miller says:

    One last reminder we aren’t talking about your Muslim neighbor we are talking about Islamic extremist. The MOA have 22 “villages” in this country. They will uproot and move else where if they become too well known in an area, such as Denver Colorado. It is good to be aware of what is going on but you have to dig for information because much of what is happening isn’t being reported. Please do not take out hostilities on your Muslim neighbors because many of these people do not want the extremist In this country but they are for bidden to speak up about it due to sharia ( Islamic law).

  • William Upton says:

    One question, how do we tell the difference between the muslim neighbor and the terrorist?

  • William Upton says:

    That’s my point. You can’t tell until they go off. So let’s err on the side of caution.

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