Governor Haslam announced today that instead of signing or vetoing the anti-sanctuary city bill he will allow it to become law without his signature:
I could sign it but that would mean that I agree that we have an issue around sanctuary cities.
In that regard, intentionally or not, the Governor has acknowledged last year’s attempt by the Metro Nashville Council to institutionalize its sanctuary city status.
An ordinance proposed last year by Metro Councilmen Bob Mendes and Colby Sledge (who is married to TIRRC’s co-director), was headed to a final vote before being withdrawn due to pressure from state legislators and the public. The bill, drafted with TIRRC’s assistance, would have made Nashville the most liberal non-deportation zone in the U.S., magnetizing Davidson County for criminal illegal aliens.
Specifically, the Mendes/Sledge proposal would have prohibited Metro Nashville employees from inquiring into anyone’s immigration status. Had it passed, the bill would have effectively enabled illegal aliens to access public benefits they would otherwise be barred from using. Additionally, the ordinance would not have violated the state’s 2009 anti-santuary city law, but would violate the new anti-sanctuary city law which expands the definition of what constitutes a sanctuary city policy:
“Sanctuary policy” means any directive, order, ordinance, resolution, practice, or policy, whether formally enacted, informally adopted, or otherwise effectuated, that:
(A) Limits or prohibits any state governmental entity or official from communicating or cooperating with federal agencies or officials to verify or report the immigration status of any alien;
(B) Grants to aliens unlawfully present in the United States the right to lawful presence within the boundaries of this state in violation of federal law;
(C) Violates 8 U.S.C. § 1373;
(D) Restricts in any way, or imposes any conditions on, a state or local governmental entity’s cooperation or compliance with detainers from the United States department of homeland security, or other successor agency, to maintain custody of any alien or to transfer any alien to the custody of the United States department of homeland security, or other successor agency;
(E) Requires the United States department of homeland security, or other successor agency, to obtain a warrant or demonstrate probable cause before complying with detainers from the department to maintain custody of any alien or to transfer any alien to its custody; or
(F) Prevents law enforcement agencies from inquiring as to the citizenship or immigration status of any person;
The expanded definition does more to deter Nashville’s efforts and may explain why some city council members who supported the Mendes/Colby ordinance have already lashed out at the Governor’s decision.
Last year, almost immediately after the Metro Nashville Council to pass a sanctuary city ordinance on second reading, Diane Black, and Bill Lee, issued strong rebukes to the city’s move to violate federal and state law. Beth Harwell sought help from the Attorney General.
Among the GOP gubernatorial candidates Boyd has consistently been the last one to denounce sanctuary city policies.
During today’s press conference, Governor Haslam correctly stated that HB2315 is not a “mass deportation bill,” a label put on the bill by TIRRC to recklessly cause unnecessary fear and hysteria in immigrant communities. Neither is the bill related to the Bean Station workplace raid which Haslam said was a federal operation.
Opponents of the new law have insisted that the bill tracks the 2012 Arizona “show me your papers” law which was unanimously upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court.
The new Tennessee law does not include the Arizona provision but instead, simply says a state or local entity cannot prohibit law enforcement from inquiring about a person’s immigration status. To that point, the during his press conference, the Governor referred to a bill passed in 2010, requiring jailers to determine the immigration status of a person in custody.
GOP gubernatorial candidate Diane Black co-sponsored that bill.
TIRRC and the usual leftist groups opposed the 2010 bill as well leveling identical argumen that they have made now in opposition to Tennessee’s expanded anti-sanctuary city law.
Both Diane Black and Bill Lee issued statements just days after HB2315, the expanded anti-sanctuary city bill was passed.
Black was the only gubernatorial candidate to call on the Governor to sign the bill. Bill Lee said if he were governor he would sign it. Beth Harwell voted for the bill so she is presumed to have wanted the bill to become law and signed the transmission to Haslam.
Again, Boyd was behind the pack. His campaign failed to issue a statement until a week after the other candidates. And when a statement was issued, it quoted Boyd campaign spokesman Chip Saltsman, not Boyd himself.
The Boyd campaign’s carefully worded statement avoided any opinion or preference as to whether he would like to see the bill signed by Haslam.
Watch Governor Haslam’s press conference: