Sanctuary city bill being grossly misrepresented

By Don Barnett on May 19, 2018

The Tennessean, May 19, 2018.

Hysteria over "mass deportation," "vigilantism" and "profiling" that will result if the sanctuary city bill sitting on Governor Haslam's desk is signed into law is pure propaganda ginned up by the professional left and their fellow travelers.

Sanctuary policies create a welcome sign that encourages illegal immigration and lawlessness. According to Immigration and Customs Enforcement Acting Director Tom Homan, 10,000 criminal aliens released under sanctuary policies instead of turned over to ICE for deportation have already recommitted crimes against innocent Americans.

HB 2315 will ensure that criminal aliens are unable to live in our communities and engage in further criminal activity.

This bill is an expansion of Tennessee's current anti-sanctuary city law that did not block the immigration-related ordinance attempted last year by Metro Nashville. Unfortunately, opponents have bent over backwards to distort what the bill does and does not do.

On the issue of detainers, opponents claim that HB 2315 requires local law enforcement to comply with immigration detainers issued by federal immigration officials. That claim is untrue.

Immigration detainers are requests by ICE to hold criminal aliens already in jail an additional 48 hours after they would have been released so they can be handed over to federal officials for removal.

All the bill says is that a municipality cannot compel local authorities to refuse to comply with an ICE detainer. Local authorities are not penalized if they refuse to comply and can release the criminal alien ahead of any encounter with ICE.

The bottom line is that HB 2315 will prohibit state and local entities from adopting policies or practices designed to obstruct cooperation with federal immigration authorities — which is precisely what Metro Nashville Council attempted last year.

Despite the hysteria by open borders advocates that HB 2315 turns local law enforcement officers into ICE agents, the reality is that HB 2315 only facilitates communication and cooperation between state, local and federal officials. It gives law enforcement officials the tools they need to keep criminal aliens off the streets.

HB 2315 is not a "show us your papers" law. Local law officers are not required to ask any individual about their immigration status. Nor are they required to notify federal immigration authorities about an individual.

Organizations opposed to the bill have needlessly frightened immigrant communities with this misinformation.

Claims that HB 2315 will encourage racial profiling are patently false. HB 2315 does not authorize racial profiling by state or local law enforcement. In fact, the language in HB 2315 specifically prohibits racial profiling.

Additionally, it is complete nonsense to argue that cooperating with ICE will reduce the number of non-citizens reporting crimes or coming forward with testimony about being criminalized.

There is no evidence aliens have been deported for reporting a crime or volunteering information to the police. Furthermore, police won't inquire into an individual's immigration status when a crime is reported.

Finally, HB 2315 adds much needed accountability to Tennessee's anti-sanctuary law by denying sanctuary cities future economic development grants. It will not cut off funds for existing programs as claimed by the bill's opponents.

The bottom line is this bill is sound policy that makes Tennesseans safer. It should quickly be signed into law by Governor Haslam.