Congressman Diane Black submitted an amendment to a house bill that would keep certain types of funding from cities labeled as sanctuary cities.
The current bill, the “No Sanctuary for Criminals Act,” blocks funding through Department of Justice grant programs.
Black made the submission Tuesday in response to a "sanctuary city-like" ordinance, which was passed by Metro Council last week in its second reading.
The ordinance states that Metro Government cannot use funding, resources, or facilities to assist in immigration enforcement.
Even though it saw success within council, the bill has been highly criticized.
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Congressman Black's amendment would significantly increase the amount that could be withheld from a municipality obstructing federal immigration laws.
It would withhold taxpayer-funded grants from sanctuary cities, including Community Development Block Grants, which cost taxpayers $2.9 billion in 2015, and various Economic Development Administration grants, which totaled $200 million in 2015.
The following public works grants would be included:
- Grants for planning and administrative expenses
- Supplementary grants
- Grants for training, research and technical assistance
Nashville Mayor Megan Barry released the following statement earlier Tuesday morning in which took steps back from her support in the bill. She asked council members to reconsider their votes.
“It is clear from this legal opinion that BL2017-739 does not apply to Sheriff Daron Hall, who has said he will continue to honor detainer requests from the federal government. Additionally, the Metro Nashville Police Department has concerns that the ordinance would prohibit them from recommending U visa applications for immigrants who are victims of crime and willing to help put dangerous criminals in jail. Losing that law enforcement tool could jeopardize public safety and would run counter to the intentions of the sponsors to make Nashville a more welcoming city for New Americans. The Metro Council should give serious consideration to these factors and reconsider whether this legislation is appropriate or necessary at this time.”
Davidson County Sheriff then followed suit and supported the Mayor's statement:
"Three weeks ago, I asked Metro's Director of Law, Jon Cooper, for a formal legal opinion
regarding ordinance BL739. It was my concern this bill, which would have prohibited the
sheriff's office from cooperating with federal immigration authorities, was overreaching. I am
pleased with this legal opinion as it validates my concerns that a local legislative body cannot
limit the core duties of a state constitutional office as defined in state law. Additionally, I join
Mayor Megan Barry in asking the council to reconsider passage of this legislation."
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