Joe Carr Commentary: Nashville Sanctuary City Plan Isn’t Just Wrong. It’s Illegal.

Tennessee Star


Commentary by Joe Carr

A plan to make Davidson County a “sanctuary city” for illegal immigrants passed earlier this week on second reading and is headed to a final vote in the Metro Council next month. Citizens in Nashville, and in the surrounding area who will be affected if the city becomes an even bigger magnet for illegal aliens, have valid concerns about the plan. Any public policy that embraces and endorses illegal activity of any kind is clearly wrong. The plan promoted by Mayor Megan Berry is not just bad policy, it is ILLEGAL policy under Tennessee law AND Federal law.

In 2009 as a member of the Tennessee House of Representatives, I wrote, sponsored and passed one of the nation’s first, if not THE first, “No Sanctuary City Law.” The law was in response to various California municipalities passing ordinances requiring their law enforcement officials not to comply with the 1996 Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigration Responsibility Act (the IIRIR). That federal law included section 8 U.S.C. 1373, which provided that no state or local entity can in any way restrict its law-enforcement officials from communicating with federal immigration authorities regarding an individual’s citizenship or immigration status. The Metro Davidson County Commission has passed, on second reading, an ordinance that does exactly that.

One of the proposed Metro ordinances reads specifically as follows:

“A department, board, commission, officer, or employee of the metropolitan government of Nashville and Davidson County shall not (A) use any funds, resources, or facilities of the metropolitan government to assist in the enforcement of federal immigration laws unless such assistance is required by federal or state law or by a court order; or (B) expend their time or use any resources responding to inquiries from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) regarding a person’s custody status, release date, or scheduled appearance date for court or probation proceedings unless such assistance is required by federal or state law or by a court order.”

The Tennessee No Sanctuary City Act, found in TCA Section 7-68-103 specifically provides:

“(a) 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.
(b) An official shall not materially interfere with the ability of a local governmental entity, official or employee of a municipality or county to comply with applicable federal law pertaining to persons that reside within the state illegally.”

The action being taken by the Metro Council is a direct and intentional attempt to violate the law. Governor Bill Haslam and the Attorney General should immediately make it clear that the State of Tennessee will aggressively and immediately respond if the ordinance passes on final reading. If the Governor doesn’t act in a definitive way, then the Legislature should take all necessary actions to prevent the violation of state law by imperious local officials who seem to be willing to ignore rules and laws that don’t fit their liberal personal agenda.

Additionally and most importantly I provided an opportunity for immediate relief from this type of lawless behavior by California Liberals who are determined to bring their failed socialist open borders policies to Tennessee. The No Sanctuary City Act specifically allows for a citizen upon passage of either one of these two ordinances the ability to file a complaint in Chancery Court. TCA Section 7-68-104 specifically provides:

“(a) A person residing in a municipality or county who believes a local governmental entity or official has violated the provisions of Section 7-68-103, may file a complaint in chancery court in such person’s county of residence.

(b) The person filing the complaint shall have the burden of proving by a preponderance of evidence that a violation of Section 7-68103, has occurred.

(c) If the court finds the local governmental entity or official in violation of Section 7-68-103, the court may issue a writ of mandamus against the local governmental entity ordering it to comply with Section 768-103, enjoin the official from further interference or take such other action to ensure compliance as is within the jurisdiction of the court.

(d) A local governmental entity shall have no less than ninety (90) days nor more than one hundred twenty (120) days from the date of the court’s order to comply with such order. If, after one hundred twenty (120) days, the local governmental entity has not complied with the court’s order, the court may take whatever action necessary to enforce compliance.”

Those who have broken our laws to come here, broken our laws to work here, broken our laws to hide among us, and in many cases broken our laws by taking taxpayer dollars in housing, healthcare, food stamps and other forms of assistance to which they are not entitled, should not be aided by public officials who embrace that illegal behavior by breaking the law themselves. Our nation was founded upon the principle of being a nation of laws; where the rule of law applied to everyone, without favor being granted to a select few.

If Nashville persists in ignoring Federal and State law, then ALL Federal and State tax dollars should be stopped at the city limits unless or until the Metro Council rejects the lawlessness they seek to codify.

– – – 

Joe Carr is a former State Representative and past Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate. Joe currently owns and operates a small farm in Lascassas.



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18 Thoughts to “Joe Carr Commentary: Nashville Sanctuary City Plan Isn’t Just Wrong. It’s Illegal.”


    1. And I am a musician from Boston too….I know what I am saying…they leave from Berkeley Music Boston an head south to Nashville..

  2. Wayne McPherson

    There is no end to the attacks on our borders, customs and language. There is no excuse whatsoever to legalize a sanctuary city. If Nashville can’t get workers from in or out of town, then they shouldn’t build and the problem will take care of itself. It maybe that the construction companies are not willing to pay more for workers. Instead, they resort to cheap labor from south of the border. Then there is the socialist agenda to keep handing out money to the unemployed forever when jobs are plentiful. That should be corrected. Federal money to sanctuary cities should be stopped and hopefully Trump will take action to do so. It seems none of these weak kneed politicians will.

  3. Mike Davidson

    Jail and prosecute in Federal Court any that vote to pass this if it does pass.
    If it doesn’t pass impeach Megan Barry and send her packing back to California.

  4. Construction co owner

    Its because of the construction boom. They are trying desperately to get labor workers here and keep them here. Whos going to build all these homes and new condo buildings, strip malls, etc??? The Americans sure as hell arent going to get off the couch and take those jobs!! So many labor problems here during the biggest economic boom middle tn has ever seen. All this work and money to be made yet no one to build it all. Its a problem with multiple problems being passed off as solutions no matter which side you are on.

    1. Jon

      I’m an American. I’ll take it.

    2. Robert Allen

      you need to pay huge fines for each one and loose your builder license.there are a lot of people us citizens who would love to work

  5. Scott

    I left CA because of this garbage, I’m terribly sorry these anti-american socialist policies have bled over to TN. Very sad and disappointing.

    1. B. Hall

      It appears Nashville is now trying to stop ALL tourism into Nashville – they’ve already tried to eliminate any references to MUSIC CITY. What, exactly, will you have left?

  6. Dan Lindsey

    You are so right Joe. However, if you remember the US Constitution requires that every elected or appointed government official must be administered an oath ofvoffice vowing allegience, defense and support for the US Constitution. That Constitution was radified by yhe State of Tennessee. That Constitution made Constitutionally enacted Federal Law supreme over State and local law un area reserved for the federal government by the Constitution. Immigration and naturalization is clearly one of those areas where Federal law is supreme. Any official of any state or licsl givernment who thru organized efforts seeks to violate that supremency is guilty of insurection. Every mayor and council member of any municiplality who does this violates theirvoath of office and have participated in na overt actvof insurection against the State and US Constitution. Therefore, as the President and Tennesse Governor are both required by their respective Constitutions to put down insurrections they should immediatly remove Mayor Barry and the Council Members from office if they past and enforce this ordinance.

    1. Rebecca

      Amen!! This shoud go straight to the Goveners desk!!

  7. Horatio Bunce

    “Those who have broken our laws to come here, broken our laws to work here, broken our laws to hide among us, and in many cases broken our laws by taking taxpayer dollars in housing, healthcare, food stamps and other forms of assistance to which they are not entitled…”

    Don’t forget that “free” public education that costs $11,725 per student in Davidson County. According to the State Report Card, they were 21.9% hispanic for 2015-2016 (over 18,000 students).

  8. Lois Snyder

    I am so upset bout this. Calling for a protest at the mayors office.

  9. Chris Vanover

    Just wait till someone gets killed, then watch the political idealists scramble. Nashville’s “It City” status is causing us get too big for our britches. This kind of arrogance will bring us crashing.

  10. Sim

    Hope Joe runs against that “Joker” that turned out to be a “Corker”.

  11. Bruce

    Good work Joe! The people of Nashville, the business owners of Nashville, the workers of Nashville, and the tourist industry of Nashville, thank you very much for your hard work.
    The Demonrats will soon learn they cannot impose their will just because they hold office and lie to people to get there. When they side with the minority they will lose.

  12. Andrew Burstein

    Good points Joe. It is a direct attack by Megan Berry on the hardworking citizens of Nashville and Tennessee to take their money and fund illegal immigrants and encourage breaking state and federal law She is an embarrassment to the city Keep speaking out. Legislators should come back and condemn this, if needed.

    1. Elaine Inman

      She needs to help the homeless & Veterans . such a poor excuse for a mayor!!