ACLU-TN Statement on Passage of Extreme Anti-Immigrant "Sanctuary City" Bill

Affiliate: ACLU of Tennessee
April 25, 2018 9:45 am

ACLU Affiliate
ACLU of Tennessee
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Both chambers of the Tennessee General Assembly today passed an extreme measure that, if signed by Governor Bill Haslam, would effectively turn all local and state law enforcement officers into unpaid federal immigration agents. The bill’s passage comes despite pressure from the American Civil Liberties Union of Tennessee and the Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition to stop the legislation.

SB 2332/HB 2315 allows for the warrantless detention of immigrants based on requests from federal immigration agents and prohibits local law enforcement from ensuring that there is probable cause or a judicial warrant before detaining individuals. The measure also requires all law enforcement officers to inquire about immigration and citizenship status and punishes local governments if their law enforcement agencies adopt, formally or informally, policies or practices that limit entanglement with federal immigration enforcement.

The following can be attributed to Hedy Weinberg, ACLU-TN executive director:

“The passage of this discriminatory and unconstitutional legislation, despite public outcry about its dangerous impact on immigrant communities in Tennessee, is a direct assault on our civil liberties and the quality of life in our welcoming state. In addition to its potential Fourth Amendment violations, this legislation harms immigrant families, supports warrantless searches and erodes immigrants’ trust in police, leading to underreporting of crime by victims and witnesses. Especially in the wake of the Bean Station raid, this legislation sends a clear message to the nation that Tennessee is becoming the country’s ‘deportation’ capitol. We are better than that, and we call on Governor Haslam to veto this dangerous legislation and ensure that immigrant families in our state are treated fairly.”

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