Tennessee House Speaker Cameron Sexton, R-Crossville, said Wednesday that Nashville Mayor David Briley’s executive order to protect illegal immigrants was an act of political desperation to save his flailing mayoral campaign.
Sexton, according to a press release, also said Briley is trying to turn Nashville into a Sanctuary City.
Briley will face At-Large Metro Council member John Cooper in Thursday’s general election.
“In lieu of the federal government following the Constitution and enforcing immigration laws pertaining to our nation’s southern border, Tennessee is taking the lead to protect the well-being and safety of our citizens,” Sexton said.
“Mayor Briley’s dangerous executive order is a last minute political ploy and a slap in the face to all law-abiding citizens and to our local law enforcement agencies. We are a representative republic of law and order, and no city or local mayor has the power to circumvent state or federal law.”
As reported, Briley announced last week that the city will not assist the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement or U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers, as long as it can legally help it.
Briley specifically took issue with HB 2315, a state law that prohibits state and local governmental entities and officials from adopting sanctuary city policies.
Briley called on the Metro Legal Director to explore any and all legal challenges to HB2315 to get the law declared unconstitutional.
As The Tennessee Star reported this week, Metro At-Large Council candidate Steve Glover filed a lawsuit that questions the legality of Briley’s executive order.
Glover said that, per state law, Nashville cannot receive any Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development money while Briley’s executive order is in effect.
Briley’s press secretary Thomas Mulgrew said Briley’s executive order “does not violate state law in any way.”
Sexton said he and his Republican colleagues are committed to enforcing immigration laws already on the books.”
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