Sixty-three members of the 99 member Tennessee House of Representatives, all Republicans, released a statement opposing the passage of a proposed sanctuary city ordinance by Metro Nashville Council.
“With the Second Reading of the Ordinances filed by Metro Councilmen Bob Mendes and Colby Sledge having passed and a vote pending from the Metro Council, we are compelled to make public the intent and purposes of this Ordinance and to make it known that as Representatives of the State of Tennessee, we soundly object to their passage. Tennessee is currently being represented by the Thomas More Law Center in a lawsuit questioning the ongoing practice of settling refugees in Tennessee through various non-governmental organizations without the proper vetting, channels or protocol being followed,” State Rep. Judd Matheny (R-Tullahoma), State Rep. Bryan Terry (R-Murfreesboro), and State Rep. Sheila Butt (R-Columbia) said in a statement released on Monday from Matheny’s office:
The Ordinances would formally put policies in place that would officially make Nashville a Sanctuary City.
In essence, the Ordinances would:
1) Prohibit Metro Nashville employees from inquiring into anyone’s immigration status, effectively enabling illegal aliens to access public benefits they would otherwise be barred from using. This practice is not in line with State and Federal law and would a huge financial strain on our public benefit services and budgets.
2) Prohibit Metro Council from continuing a contractual arrangement with the U.S. Marshals Service that enables the Davidson County jail to detain illegal criminal aliens for ICE pick-up, and would “require Metro to exercise its rights to terminate the contract, and negotiate new terms subject to Council approval.” The Council could decide not to renew any contract that allows for compliance with ICE detainers.
While other states list crimes (generally those with acts of violence involving a weapon, anything involving terror, or any major drug offenses to name a few) that trigger cooperation with ICE detainers leading to deportation, the Metro Ordinance of Mendes would allow illegal immigrants who commit all types of crimes, without exception, to be released back into our communities instead of facing possible deportation by ICE.
Tennessee Code Annotated Section 7-68-103 states:
(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 a county to comply with applicable federal law pertaining to persons that reside within the state illegally.
These proposed ordinances would be a clear violation of Tennessee law and it is our intent as legislators to protect the safety of all Tennesseans to the greatest extent. After the murder of Kate Steinle in California by an illegal immigrant who had already been convicted of seven felonies and deported five times, we should be actively encouraging our law enforcement to cooperate with federal immigration authorities involving illegal aliens who commit crimes.
The proposed Ordinances are in violation of current law and place Tennesseans at risk. The citizens of Nashville and Metro Davidson County should contact their Councilmen immediately and request that their respective Representatives vote NO on these two Ordinances. If these Ordinances should pass it may empower additional liberal enclaves to follow suit. It is important for Tennessee to take the lead in resolving this issue now.
“It is entrusted to the General Assembly to keep the citizens of our state safe, keep Tennessee financially sound, and to enact laws that will accomplish that end. We will not hesitate to act if these Ordinances should pass,” the statement continued.
“The following members of the TN General Assembly implore you NOT to pass this ordinance,” the statement concluded:
Representatives David Alexander, Sheila Butt, David Byrd, Kent Calfee, Dale Carr, Mike Carter, Glen Casada, Jim Coley, Michael Curcio, Martin Daniel, Barry Doss, Bill Dunn, Jimmy Eldridge, Jeremy Faison, Andy Farmer, John Forgety, Ron Gant, Tilman Goins, Marc Gravitt, Curtis Halford, Speaker Beth Harwell, David Hawk, Gary Hicks, Matthew Hill, Timothy Hill, John B. Holsclaw, Jr., Andy Holt, Dan Howell, Bud Hulsey, Curtis Johnson, Roger Kane, Kelly Keisling, Sabi Kumar, William Lamberth, Mary Littleton, Ron Lollar, Pat Marsh, Judd Matheny, Jimmy Matlock, Debra Moody, Mark Pody, Dennis Powers, John Ragan, Jay Reedy, Courtney Rogers, Tim Rudd, Bill Sanderson, Charles Sargent, Cameron Sexton, Jerry Sexton, Paul Sherrell, Eddie Smith, Mike Sparks, Art Swann, Bryan Terry, Rick Tillis, Ron Travis, Micah Van Huss, Terri Lynn Weaver, Dawn White, Sam Whitson, Tim Wirgau, Jason Zachary
On Friday, speaking to the Cannon County Republican Party Reagan Day Dinner, Matheny promised “to orchestrate a massive response to Davidson County’s attempt at embracing sanctuary city status.”