Republicans bash Nashville immigration ordinance (including pledge to invalidate it, if passed)

Nashville’s Democrat-dominated Metro Council approved Tuesday on second reading – with a third approval required next month – a “Nashville together” ordinance that would prohibit using any city funds, resources or facilities to assist enforcement of federal immigration laws.

The state’s Republican officeholders have been bashing the move since then. Here’s a sampler with one pro-ordinance press release thrown in.

News release from Senate Republican Caucus

NASHVILLE, (June 21, 2017) — Senate Speaker Pro Tempore Jim Tracy (R-Shelbyville), who passed a law in 2009 preventing any city in Tennessee from becoming a “sanctuary city” for illegal aliens, said any action taken by Metro Government of Nashville to try to skirt it will draw a strong legislative response. The Metropolitan Council approved the ordinances on Tuesday evening, setting the measure up for a final vote next month.

The law sponsored by Tracy prohibits local governments in Tennessee, or the head of such localities, from passing any ordinances or policies that allows for a sanctuary city to be located in the state. It was designed to be a preemptive strike to guard against adoption of any policies to protect those who are in the United States illegally, like the one adopted by the Metro Council yesterday. It also urged the State Attorney General and local governments to pursue any federal funds allocated to combat illegal immigration.

“There is a high cost to illegal immigration for our cities, counties and state,” said Senator Tracy. “That is why we took action in 2009 to prevent it. The ordinance passed yesterday clearly defies the letter and the spirit of our state law.”

The law states: “A local governmental entity or official shall not adopt any ordinance or written policy that expressly prohibits a local governmental entity, official, or employee from complying with applicable federal law pertaining to persons that reside within the state illegally. An official shall not materially interfere with the ability of a local governmental entity, official or employee of a municipality or a county to comply with applicable federal law pertaining to persons that reside within the state illegally.”

“Obviously, the Metro resolution is contradictory of the state prohibition,” added Tracy. “The first response, should the ordinance pass, is to request an Attorney General’s opinion. Then if any further legislative action is needed, it will be filed immediately.

News release from U.S. Rep. Diane Black

Washington, D.C. – Congressman Diane Black (R-TN-06), a member of the House Border Security Caucus and author of the Stop Dangerous Sanctuary Cities Act, condemns Nashville City Council vote on bills to obstruct immigration law, putting illegal aliens first and the safety and security of Tennessee families last.

“First and foremost, as a mother and a grandmother, I implore the Councilmembers to start holding illegal immigrants accountable for crime and acts of violence.  Sanctuary city policies to help and support criminal illegal immigrants pose a direct threat to our citizens and undermine the rule of law.  In Congress, I’m working with my colleagues to pass the Stop Dangerous Sanctuary Cities Act to cut off funding for any municipality that helps illegal immigrants hide from the law.  It’s time for Mayor Barry to stop borrowing liberal policies from California and New York and start putting the safety and security of Tennessee families first,” said Congressman Diane Black.–

Besides Black, who is considering a run for the GOP gubernatorial nomination, Tennessee Star reports that two announced candidates – state Sen. Mae Beavers and businessman Bill Lee – are bashing the Metro Council move as well, though there’s no reported comment from businessman Randy Boyd. An excerpt:

“I will use the powers of the Governor’s office to defund any city in Tennessee that chooses to violate state and federal laws by embracing and encouraging illegal aliens to locate to our state,” Beavers said.

“It is unfortunate that the laws we have regarding sanctuary cities do not impose detailed, severe penalties on those who break the law. But as Governor I will strongly encourage the Legislature to add specific punitive provisions into the law that will discourage cities from putting our families at risk by shielding those who have no respect for our laws,” she added.

…“I am 100% opposed to ‘sanctuary cities.’ When politicians embrace lawlessness, they put our entire state at risk,” Williamson County businessman Bill Lee tells The Tennessee Star.

“It’s a reckless policy, I’m opposed to it, and, as governor, I would use every tool at my disposal to halt the adoption of these types of policies,” Lee adds.

The Star also has an article declaring the ordinance would force law enforcement officers to violate federal law (HERE), a story on state Rep. Judd Matheny’s speaking against it on talk radio and former Rep. Joe Carr’s commentary (he’s against it, too).

And, for an opposing perspective, here’s a Tuesday night release from the Tennessee Immigration and Refugee Rights Coalition:

Nashville – Tonight, the Nashville Metro Council voted to pass BL-739 on second reading by a vote of 25 – 8, with 4 abstentions and 2 members not voting. BL-739 would prohibit city agencies from assisting in the enforcement of federal immigration enforcement, including honoring voluntary requests from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents to detain immigrants in our jails. The ordinance, sponsored by Council Members Bob Mendes and Colby Sledge, is scheduled for a third and final vote on Thursday, July 6th.

Before the vote, approximately 250 immigrants, refugees, and their allies gathered outside the Metro Council chambers as part of the Nashville Together campaign. After the vote, TIRRC members celebrated and renewed their commitments to continue organizing their communities in support of the bill and ensure the ordinance’s passage on July 6th.

BL-739 was introduced by Council Members Bob Mendes and Colby Sledge, and co-sponsored by Council Members: Erica Gilmore, Jim Shulman, Fabian Bedne, Mina Johnson, Mike Freeman, Nancy VanReece, Bill Pridemore, Anthony Davis, Scott Davis, Brett Withers, Burkley Allen, and Freddie O’Connell.

The second Nashville Together ordinance, BL-743, which would terminate the contract that Davidson County Sheriff’s Office relies on to use the Nashville jail as a regional immigrant detention center, was delayed until August 1st by a voice in last night’s budget committee and today’s public safety committee.

The Nashville Together campaign, organized by The Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition (TIRRC), has been endorsed by the ACLU of Tennessee, Casa de la Cultura Latino Americana, Conexión Américas, Global Education Center, Healthy and Free Tennessee, Justice for Our Neighbors, Metro Human Relations Commission, Metropolitan Nashville Board of Public Education, Planned Parenthood of Middle and East Tennessee, Sexual Assault Center, Showing Up for Racial Justice Nashville, Somali Community of Middle Tennessee, Tennessee Advocates for Planned Parenthood, Tennessee Justice Center, Workers’ Dignity.

The following is a quote from Stephanie Teatro, Co-Executive Director of the Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition (TIRRC):

“In an era of mass deportations, the city must take bold steps to remain a welcoming city for all people. We applaud the council members who voted to advance the bill and those who spoke passionately in support of its passage. They were right: this ordinance puts Nashville on the right side of history. Over the next two weeks, we will continue to organize immigrants, refugees, and their allies across the city and expand our coalition in support of BL-739 in advance of the third and final vote. Tonight though, we celebrate; tomorrow we organize.

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