by Don Barnett
In Tennessee, driving without a license is a misdemeanor. Advocacy efforts to stop enforcing this part of the state’s criminal code because it may affect illegal aliens disproportionately have paid off.
In a meeting with community activists in April at the Woodmont YWCA in Nashville, Davidson County District Attorney Glenn Funk explained that, prior to 2014, Davidson County jails averaged 18,000 days of detention per year for driving without a license (DWOL). Last year, under his watch, there were only 185 days in jail for DWOL. As well, his office recalled and dismissed some 4,000 cases of DWOL from prior years.
In discussions during the Q and A period it was clear that only Tennessee’s anti-sanctuary law is stopping the Davidson County District Attorney Funk from altogether forbidding law enforcement to cooperate with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the branch of the federal Department of Homeland Security with the legal duty to enforce federal immigration law.
District Attorney Funk would seemingly like to treat ALL misdemeanors the way he is now treating DWOL because of the potential for “collateral damage” to illegal aliens from a misdemeanor arrest – i.e. winding up in removal proceedings. About 90 percent of arrests in Davidson County are for misdemeanors.
Thus have Nashville’s elected leaders pushed the city towards sanctuary city policies. Thus has the establishment-approved flow of illegal immigration affected how we govern.
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Don Barnett is a retired IT professional and freelance writer living in Williamson County.