Metro Nashville Council Vote Moves City Closer to ‘Sanctuary’ Status

Twenty-five out of thirty-nine members present at Tuesday’s Metro Council meeting voted to pass the Mendes/Sledge ordinance forward to a third reading and final vote at the next regularly scheduled Council meeting.

The ordinance will, in effect, turn Nashville into a “sanctuary city,” and set up an inevitable confrontation with both the state and federal government. It is also in line with the left-wing, open borders, pro-illegal immigrant political philosophy of Nashville Mayor Megan Barry, a Democrat.

The vote was preceded by impassioned statements both pro and con; some more factually accurate than others.  Admissions were made that parents are not taking their children to be immunized, victims of domestic violence complaints are not coming forward and there is pervasive fear of interacting with law enforcement. Councilman Scott Davis claimed that downtown hotel cleaners aren’t getting paid because they’re told “you’re illegal. I don’t have to pay you.”

The general theme running through supporters was this bill would make the city safer for everyone, “citizens or not,” phrasing used by Councilman Mendes to avoid the legally accurate term “illegal alien.”

Mendes claimed that cities are allowed to “have choice” regarding how much they do over and above federal and state law and that his bill will not classify Nashville as a sanctuary city. He emphasized that “these are our neighbors” and we are to “treat all our neighbors as our own.”

Cooperating with ICE requests to detain criminal aliens is voluntary and is just one of the needles Mendes’ bill threads. Should his bill pass, no illegal aliens in Davidson County, regardless of the crime committed, would be detained in cooperation with ICE.  His co-sponsor Colby Sledge referenced the “hundreds of cities that have taken the step” Nashville is trying to do. tallies 106 sanctuary cities, labeled as such because they choose not to cooperate with federal immigration authorities by reporting “aliens in custody.”

Robert Swope who represents Metro District 4 and who worked for the Trump campaign, offered the most comprehensive objection to Mendes’ sanctuary-styled bill, reminding his colleagues that “Nashville is not an island surrounded by a blue ocean.” Swope reads the bill as giving preferential treatment to a criminal class by putting criminal aliens above the law.  He predicted that if the ordinance passes on the final vote, the state will pass legislation nullifying it because “we are purposefully provoking the state yet again.”

Councilman Fabian Bedne, the first Latino elected to the Metro Council, blamed President Trump’s Executive Order for forcing the Council to consider the Mendes/Sledge bill. Bedne claimed that if the bill wasn’t passed Nashville would be forced to jail 33,000 people for 180 days at a cost of over $44 million.

The irony of her own statement seemed lost on Mina Johnson, one of the fourteen co-sponsors of BL2017-739 who after acknowledging her own legal naturalized immigration status, said the bill was necessary to help, protect and “make them feel safe” because the “people are already here.”

Nashville Sheriff Hall has publicly stated that as an elected constitutional officer the Metro Council lacks authority to dictate how he operates the jail. He plans to continue cooperating with ICE detainer requests issued for criminal aliens.

At large council member John Cooper conceded that it may be within the sheriff’s discretion to abide by the ordinance as it relates to detention and sharing of information regarding criminal aliens but that Metro Legal has not issued a definitive opinion yet.

Countering that position, Metro Council attorney Mike Jameson said that an argument can be made that the ordinance would apply to the sheriff’s office but that he is still researching the issue. The question may very well boil down to whether Metro Nashville has the authority to dictate what a state employee can and cannot do.

Sheriff Hall has indicated that if necessary, “I’ll pursue it to a courtroom to get it settled.”


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34 Thoughts to “Metro Nashville Council Vote Moves City Closer to ‘Sanctuary’ Status”

  1. […] 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 […]

  2. […] was a leading proponent of the sanctuary city bill the Metro Council was passed on a second reading in June before an uprising by the Tennessee General Assembly persuaded its sponsors to drop it […]

  3. […] ordinance passed on a second reading June 20 by a 25 to 8 vote, with 4 members abstaining, and 2 members not voting, but without a vote cast by a council member […]

  4. […] Metro Council’s debate over the second reading of the now withdrawn sanctuary city ordinance before the June 20 vote, Nashville Council Member-at-Large Erica Gilmore, tried to assert non-existent local authority over […]

  5. […] members of the Metro Nashville Council who voted “yes” on the second reading of the sanctuary city ordinance on June 20 are in re-election jeopardy for 2019 because they are in favor of a policy that many of their […]

  6. […] “Twenty-five out of thirty-nine members present at Tuesday’s Metro Council meeting voted to pass the Mendes/Sledge ordinance forward to a third reading and final vote at the next regularly scheduled Council meeting,” as The Star reported: […]

  7. […] Metro Nashville school board is supporting Metro government’s proposed “sanctuary city” policy despite a growing chorus of […]

  8. […] The Star reported, the Metro Nashville Council voted 25 to 8 in favor of the proposed ordinance at a second reading […]

  9. […] immediately after the Metro Nashville Council voted on second reading to pass a sanctuary city ordinance last week, Congressman Diane Black (R-TN-06), State Rep. Judd Matheny (R-Tullahoma) and […]

  10. […] then spelled out exactly how opponents of the Metro Nashville Council’s proposed sanctuary city ordinance in the Tennessee General Assembly will […]

  11. […] Mendes/Sledge Ordinance BL2017-739  that passed on second reading by twenty-five Metro Nashville Council members on Tuesday will, if passed on a final vote, force Davidson County and Nashville law enforcement personnel to […]

  12. […] Senator Jim Tracy (R-Shelbyville) said the “sanctuary city” ordinance that passed on second reading at the Metro Nashville Council on Tuesday “clearly defies the the letter and spirit of our state law,” in a statement […]

  13. Francine Daniels

    Any plan to be at the council meeting and show these people that we don’t want this to pass??? These people need to know they need to represent their constituents not Mayor Liberal Barry. Send her back to CA. ASAP!!

  14. Wolf Woman

    When my neighbors have broken the law, bring down wages of legal citizens by working “off the books” and add to the burden of social welfare and crime, I don’t feel all soft and fuzzy about treating them as “my own.” My own wouldn’t treat me like that.

    If you want to think of illegal aliens as “your own” Councilman Mendes you can. But what I think of is what kind of neighbor they are. These are people who come here not to obey our law but to take what they can get, thinking that we owe it to them. If they like what we’ve done here, they can replicate it where they came from with education and hard work but it seems that’s too much trouble. It’s easier to walk in open borders, have a baby and con guilt-ridden whitey to take care of them. It’s hard and expensive to become a real citizen of the USA. But all this hoopla makes the progressives feel so self-righteous. Why they’re taking care of the poor mistreated brown people. Who would ever be against that!

    Look up the history of LaRaza. The illegal aliens from the south want our country since they can’t run a decent one on their own.

  15. BL

    Thank you, Joe! Please stay in the fray.
    In a comment yesterday, I asked if anyone knew what the homicide rate in Nashville/Davidson County was for the past two years compared to other years in the past decade. The last two years would be M. Barry years in office. (M. would be Megan not Marion as in D.C.) I decided to do the research for the past decade and the numbers are interesting. The number of homicides:
    for 2007 and 2008 the total was 147;
    for 2009 and 2010 the total was 140;
    for 2011 and 2012 the total was 113;
    for 2013 and 2014 the total was 81; and
    for 2015 and 2016 the total was 159.
    for 2016 and 2017 based on the current number of homicides in 2017, there will be 168.
    Through May 21, 2017, Nashville has had 34 homicides which would average out to be about 7 per month which would be 84 for the year. There were 84 homicides in 2016.
    Those numbers indicate a significant decline over the decade until M. Barry came into office in 2015. Then the numbers practically doubled from 81 to 159. I’m using 2 year segments of time because she has been in office 2 years. (You can find these numbers online.)
    Can I say with certainty that M. Berry is responsible for the increase in homicides? No, more factors would have to be taken into consideration. However, what I perceive to be her disregard for any law except whatever is in her own head could certainly contribute to a general lack of respect for the law. If the mayor of a city, expresses such clear disdain for the laws of the state and the nation; then why wouldn’t criminals and illegals expect to be free to act as they please as well.
    Our mayor and our city councel members are going to continue doing whatever they wish on short-term rentals, illegal immigration, totally out of control spending, increasing the number of government workers, zero accountability, elimination of affordable housing, etc. as long as they can get away with it or until they have destroyed Nashville.
    I am incredibly grateful for the Tennessee Star for shining the light into these shady areas. That is the first step and it has been a huge step and a real blessing. THANK YOU CHRISTINA AND EVERYONE ELSE AT TENNESSEE STAR!!!

  16. Steve

    Legally, “Sanctuary Cities” CANNOT be made. Since laws about immigration are FEDERAL, cities have NO authority to do this, and any city that does, is breaking federal law. So if the anti-American Liberal jerks in office make Nashville a “sanctuary city”, they should all be arrested!

  17. Randy

    Better be voting out all of the democrats before they bring in more voters for them.

  18. Michelle

    This is crazy! Them saying all the money that will be spent putting all the illegal aliens in jail, well how much money is this ordinance proposition costing our city? It’s a complete waste of time if it violates our states laws. This is horrible for our city!!

  19. Billy

    If these progressives get their way and make Nashville a sanctuary city then the days of economic growth for Tennessee are at an end. The reason that so much industry has come to Tennessee in recent years is because of the conservatism of the state. I believe that it is time to put the 25 yes voters on call and warn the 4 abstentions, too.

  20. Joe Carr

    I wrote, sponsored and passed Tennessee’s No Sanctuary City Law in 2009. The law specifically allows for a citizen to file a complaint in Chancery Court in the event a city, municipality, county or official violates Public Chapter 447. If the Davidson County Metro Council passes either one of their two proposed ordinances and they are signed into law by Mayor Megan Barry they will be in violation of state law.

  21. Monica Gribbins

    This is crazy what is wrong with you people she needs to go back to CA.and leave TN.we don’t need her in office with her liberal ways a destroy this state .So Bill Haslam better step in and do something about this are he may not win re-election.

  22. Mr Hyde

    Come One come all , Put the White & Black men of Nashville out of work , with criminal aliens taking their jobs . This mayor has the brains of a bowl of Jello

  23. Laura Schwister

    Are you stupid? Have you not seen the destruction these”refugees” cause? If you care about the people in Nashville, you will NOT do this.

    1. lb

      The elected “progressives” on the council are hell bent in keeping this city as liberal as possible. With 34 of the council, out of 39, voting FOR this, time for a lot of calls to their offices today.

    2. Mary Smith

      This is insanity and it needs to be stopped. What the hell is wrong with people that want this to be a sanctuary city. I bet they would change their tune if one of their own were perhaps killed by some MS13 member
      or some other illegal.

  24. Jay

    In 2009, legislation was passed by the General Assembly that says a local official or entity shall not adopt any ordinance or policy that prohibits compliance with all applicable federal laws pertaining to immigration. Officials are also prohibited from interfering with the enforcement of these laws. A person who believes this law has been violated may seek relief in Chancery Court.

    Don Johnson | Director, Constituent Services & Community Relations
    Office of Governor Bill Haslam

    1. lb

      That was my thought. Why dont we, the citizens and residents of Nashville, institute a lawsuit challenging this and putting the councilcritters who voted for it on notice they will be held responsible.


        I hope people will vote Megan Berry out and all the council members that want NASHVILLE TO BECOME A SANCTUARY CITY. This is bad and I do not support it.

      2. lesstressrx

        We must do something. This is unconstitutional, but of course they don’t care. Our Council are a bunch of deplorables. We need new people with positive ideas for Nashville. Each year Nashville gets worse & worse with all this liberal spending, along with laws that create destruction for our city.
        They are more interested in spending money for sports, entertainment, and anything that will bring more people here. The Mayor is going to destroy our beautiful city with her liberal ideas.

    2. Ron

      What law if we want to cite it

      1. Bruce

        TCA 7-68-103: Adoption of ordinances or policies prohibiting compliance with federal law pertaining to illegal residents forbidden — Interference with compliance prohibited.