‘Political realities’ leave Nashville immigration ordinances dead

Citing “political realities,” Metro Nashville Councilman Bob Mendes has abandoned an attempt to seek approval of city ordinances that critics said would make Nashville a “sanctuary city” for illegal immigrants, reports The Tennessean.

He claimed the proposals had the support of a majority of Nashvillians but pointed to a backlash in more conservative parts of Tennessee.

“Despite the popular support in Davidson County, there’s been a great deal of opposition from outside the county, and these bills have become a political football for people running for governor in the Republican primary and other races statewide,” Mendes said at a Wednesday afternoon news conference.

“It’s almost become a race to the bottom to see who can criticize Nashville more, who can criticize immigrants more.

“It’s set up a situation where we won’t be able to proceed,” he said. “We’re going to refocus our efforts on moving forward to protect all our citizens.”

The retreat marks a fast fall for a proposal that just eight days ago seemed to have momentum when the council on a 25-8 decision advanced it on the second of three required votes. A final vote had been set for next Thursday.

It comes one day after Mayor Megan Barry, who had remained neutral on the issue, urged the council to “reconsider” the immigration ordinance after Metro Director of Law Jon Cooper issued a legal opinion that said the ordinance is not enforceable.

…Republicans in the Tennessee legislature led opposition to the Nashville proposal.

They condemned the council and threatened to overturn a proposal they alleged would turn Nashville into a “sanctuary city” for immigrants in the nation illegally. Critics included every announced or speculated 2018 Republican candidate for governor, including House Speaker Beth Harrell of Nashville.

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