A spokesman from the Diane Black campaign for governor told The Tennessee Star over the weekend that their petition urging outgoing Governor Bill Haslam to sign recently-passed, anti-sanctuary city legislation into law has received an “overwhelming” amount of support by Tennesseans concerned about state and government officials turning a blind eye to illegal immigration and the issues arising from it.
“The response we’ve received has been overwhelming, with over 1,000 Tennesseans signing our petition urging Governor Haslam to sign the sanctuary cities bill,” Black communications director Chris Hartline wrote. “It’s clear that Tennesseans support this common-sense bill that puts the safety and security of the people of Tennessee first.”
Last Wednesday, the Black campaign launched a petition asking Tennessee residents to help them pressure Governor Haslam – who originally campaigned on confronting illegal immigration in the Volunteer State – to sign the Green-Reedy bill that closed key loopholes in the existing anti-sanctuary city legislation he signed in 2011:
The Tennessee General Assembly passed a bill to end sanctuary cities in our state. Governor Haslam hasn’t signed the bill, and every day, those who support illegal immigration are emboldened by the inaction.
Our governor should sign the bill without hesitation.
If you agree, please join me in calling on Governor Haslam to sign the bill.
In the email version of the call-to-action to sign the petition, an additional message from the candidate reads:
As your governor, I will be a conservative leader for Tennessee, and I won’t back down. Please join me in calling on Governor Haslam to stand up for the rule of law and for the people of Tennessee — tell him to sign the bill to stop sanctuary cities.
The bill, known as SB 2332/ HB 2315 – or the Green-Reedy Bill – was passed by both houses of the legislature toward the very end of the legislative session on April 26 after several attempts by Democrats and moderate Republican to derail the measure. As The Star previously reported:
Repeated efforts by House members to derail the anti-sanctuary city bill were unable to stop it from passing on a 64 – 23 vote.
Bill sponsor Rep. Jay Reedy carefully explained that sanctuary policies are intended to obstruct cooperation with federal immigration authorities and that these policies protect people who have been arrested for committing a crime under Tennessee law and are then discovered to also be wanted by ICE.
Reedy’s explanation did not stop Rep. Patsy Hazlewood from trying to persuade her colleagues not to support the bill.
Hazlewood will have a Democrat challenger in the general election.
Democrats in both the House and Senate spoke to wanting stronger laws to stop illegal aliens from working in Tennessee.
Caucus Chairman Rep. Mike Stewart introduced an amendment that would criminalize employing illegal aliens and make it a Class E felony. In 2011, however, the U.S. Supreme Court held that states could only impose sanctions on employers through measures like revoking business licenses.
Rep. Reedy invited Stewart to work with him next session on strengthening the state’s E-verify statute.
Sen. Mark Green passed the Senate companion bill SB 2332, with a solid 23 -5 vote.
The bill was officially received by the Governor Friday. He has 10 days (excluding Sundays) to either sign or veto the bill. After ten days with no signature, the bill becomes law.