A bill to strengthen Tennessee’s law prohibiting sanctuary cities was passed by a majority vote of the Senate State & Local Government Committee with only Democrat State Sen. Jeff Yarbro (D-Nashville) voting no.
Among other features of SB2332, sponsored by State Sen. Mark Green (R-Clarksville), is a broadened definition of “sanctuary policies or practices” that help shield criminal illegal aliens and encourages more illegal immigration to those locations.
Several weeks ago, the State and Local Director from the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) spoke to the committee reminding them that “sanctuary policies come in all shapes and sizes:”
Some are written, some are not. Some are enacted through local laws while others masquerade as ‘welcoming resolutions; some even appear as internal law enforcement agency policy. Despite these differences in appearance, the uniting factor is that sanctuary policies place a greater emphasis on the welfare of illegal aliens than the welfare and safety of citizens and legal residents in their own communities.
Tennessee’s current statute only addresses written sanctuary policies.
Nashville promotes itself as a “welcoming city” – in fact, so welcoming that in June 2017, two ordinances were introduced by Councilmen Bob Mendes and Colby Sledge promoting practices that would have made Nashville the country’s most liberal sanctuary city. One of the bills would have allowed illegal aliens who commit all types of crimes, without exception, to be released back into the community instead of facing possible deportation by allowing cooperation with ICE.
Sen. Jeff Yarbro who represents Nashville, voiced strong objection to Green’s bill which affirms that cooperation with ICE and compliance with detainer requests is consistent with federal law. Yarbro claimed that without a warrant detainer requests violate the 4th Amendment. This is the same argument used by advocates for illegal immigrants to slow down arrests and deportation of illegal aliens.
The new DHS consolidated detainer form requires a statement of probable cause for arresting an illegal alien and two recent NY Supreme Court cases held that an ICE detainer based on probable cause did not violate any constitutional rights. Sarah Rehberg, an attorney with the Immigration Reform Law Institute told The Star that:
Removal under federal immigration law is a civil matter – not criminal. As such, Article III judges do not have jurisdiction over immigration matters to issue the judicial warrants. Even before ICE revealed its new consolidated detainer form, the agency required probable cause that an immigration violation had occurred. Adding the administrative warrant requirement, which further states the probable cause that ICE has to arrest a suspected removable alien, only strengthens the agency’s authority and removes any alleged Fourth Amendment hurdles.
Green’s bill would also withhold economic & community development funds from local jurisdictions that insist on shielding criminal illegal aliens.
The House companion bill, HB2315 sponsored by State Rep. Jay Reedy is scheduled in the State Government Subcommittee today. Shortly after the Nashville sanctuary ordinances were proposed, three of the five subcommittee members – State Reps. Bud Hulsey, Mary Littleton and subcommittee Chairman Bill Sanderson, signed a statement opposing the proposed ordinances.
The Senate State & Local Government Committee also passed Green’s other bill that if passed by the House and signed into law, will make it more difficult for municipalities to shield illegal immigrants.
SB2333 would require local identity card programs to be authorized by the General Assembly. It would also, consistent with other parts of the Tennessee Code, prohibit relying on the Mexican consulate issued matricula consular card as an identification document.
Tennessee law already prohibits using the matricula consular card to get a state driver license.
During Nashville’s last mayoral race, all of the candidates including Megan Barry endorsed creating a local identification card program that would include illegal aliens. This has become a popular program in sanctuary cities that help illegal aliens appear as if they are lawfully present. In other cities the cards have also helped illegal aliens avoid arrest and possible deportation during traffic stops.
According to the Chicago Tribune, the Chicago-issued municipal ID card available to illegal aliens will be accepted as valid voter identification.
In Cincinnati, working with local law enforcement and city officials, Catholic Charities is producing and providing the municipal ID card to immigrants in the city who don’t have or can’t obtain U.S. government identification.
Five committee senators voted to pass Green’s ID bill; State Sen. Briggs and State Sen. Gardenhire passed and Yarbro voted no.
The House companion bill, HB2312, sponsored by State Rep. William Lamberth is scheduled today in the House State Government Subcommittee.