State Senator Mark Green (R-Clarskville) appeared on 99.7 FM WWTN’s Nashville Morning News with Ralph Bristol on Monday.
Ralph Bristol provided this report on his interview with Green to The Tennessee Star, which we reprint here with permission.
By Ralph Bristol
A state senator, running for governor, is demanding Tennessee cities toe the line on federal immigration laws, or risk all their state funding.
Sen. Mark Green, a Republican who represents Clarksville, has introduced a bill he says would “put teeth” in Tennessee’s existing law that bans cities from adopting so-called “sanctuary city” policies – which means, generally, they refuse to cooperate with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) authorities in ICE’s efforts to deportation illegal immigrants in their cities, including their jails.
Appearing on Nashville’s Morning News, Green insisted his bill does not go beyond existing state and federal cooperation orders, but rather only enacts a punishment for disobeying existing law.
Green said he was inspired by comments made after the election by Nashville Mayor Megan Barry, who joined other Democrat sanctuary or sanctuary-oriented Mayors who have vowed to defy Trump’s threat to remove federal funding from true sanctuary cities. Green stopped short of accusing Barry of violating the law, but rebuked her for harboring the notion of providing sanctuary from federal law enforcement authorities.
Green said his bill is specifically preemptive to actions he believes Barry has suggested.
Nashville’s Morning News has extended an invitation to Mayor Barry to respond to Sen. Green.
Mayor Barry’s office responded to Ralph Bristol this morning. We reprint that response with permission from Ralph Bristol:
I appreciate you offering the chance for the Mayor to respond.
As a general rule we will not be commenting on newly filed legislation unless it is something that Metro Nashville is proactively supporting. Mayor Barry and the administration will work with our government relations team to identify and monitor legislation that could positively or negatively impact Nashville, and share thoughts, concerns, or suggestions with sponsors, committee members, and other members of the Tennessee General Assembly as necessary.
Tune in to Nashville’s Morning News with Ralph Bristol on 99.7 FM WWTN radio on Tuesday morning, and he’ll tell you why he scooped his own program by providing Mayor Barry’s response to his inquiry to The Tennessee Star first.
PARTIAL TRANSCRIPT of Ralph Bristol’s interview with State Senator Mark Green on Monday
CLIP 01 – The concept of ‘Sanctuary’ is offensive
GREEN: Well, I think what really made me say, ‘Well, we’re going to have to do this in Tennessee’ is when [Nashville] Mayor Barry basically said [to] local law enforcement, you know, we’re not going to enforce the federal laws.
She basically came out, I think, last fall sometime and said, ‘We’re not going to turn our local law enforcement into enforcers of immigration law.’
But the fact of the matter is the federal law say you have to do that. She doesn’t have a choice.
I mean, take it back to the satellite view, to the definition of ‘sanctuary.’ They’re basically giving someone a safe place to hide from the law!
And just the concept is offensive to me.
CLIP 02 – Bill Cuts All Funding
GREEN: Well, we haven’t defined that in the bill. I imagine that’ll probably come in, in the amendment process.
The way the bill is worded right now, it’s subject to the state. So, we could take it all.
BRISTOL: Any state funding the city is getting? Including highway funding and anything – whether it’s related or not to immigration?
GREEN: That’s the way the bill is worded right now.
BRISTOL: Are you going to leave it that way?
GREEN: We’re going to wait — we’ll get in Committee and see what my colleagues think. A lot of bills are a joint process of the committee and legislature, so we’ll see what the temperature of everyone is and make a decision.
The goal is to keep this from happening.
BRISTOL: You’re starting with the heaviest hammer in the toolbox, and if you have to drop to a lighter hammer… that’s maybe or maybe not negotiable, alright?
CLIP 03 – No change, just “teeth”
GREEN: Basically all we’re saying that is local law enforcement refuses to enforce one of the Detain Orders fron ICE, we’re going to take state funding from them; the federal one takes federal funding.
And this isn’t new with [President] Donald Trump. Actually, [former Atty Gen] Loretta Lynch issued an order to ‘sanctuary cities’ saying, “You have to be in compliance with chapter 8, section 1373 of the US Code.”
So, this is not anything new. Once again, it’s not. anything. new. We’re just saying: enforce the law. Enforce the laws on the books.
You don’t like the laws? Go through the legislative process to and change the law. But this is what the law says, and you’re not going to ignore the law. And if you do, we’re going to take state funding as well as the federal government.
CLIP 04 – Pre-emptive to (in)action by Nashville’s Mayor Barry
GREEN: Now, she [Mayor Barry] hasn’t issues any edicts that I understand; not the City Council. No one, “Okay, do not do this.”
But as she goes around and says thing like, “We shouldn’t be doing this,” it makes us, in the legislature, say, “Okay, well let’s just keep this from ever happening.”