NASHVILLE, Tenn. — A number of immigration bills are being debated in the state legislature this year, and some have drawn some criticism.
State Representative Bruce Griffey said he brought forth multiple bills in response to campaign promises he made his constituents in Paris, TN.
"These were campaign promises I made was to fight for Tennesseans, the workers of Tennessee that are down at the bottom of the economic scale," said Griffey. "I believe, everyone recognizes, the people down at the bottom of the economic scale, if we can increase their wages, everyone else in the economy on up will benefit from that."
House Bill 1238 is a caption bill that would require courts to notify ICE when people charged with a crime had an undocumented immigrant status. Also, it would regulate bond amounts for those people. The bill was taken off notice in committee Wednesday.
However, another bill, House Bill 614, would make it illegal for landlords to provide housing for undocumented immigrants. Landlords could get fines for defying the law or even be charged with a felony following multiple offense.
House Bill 662 would require that birth certificates display the citizenship status of a baby's parents. It would identify if both parents of a child are undocumented in the case the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that babies born on U.S. soil to undocumented immigrants are not citizens.
Opponents of these bills said they harm Tennesseans and create an environment where it's impossible for undocumented immigrants to live in Tennessee.
"Tennesseans share the same values as immigrant families and I think, overwhelmingly, will reject this kind of legislation," said Lisa Sherman-Nikolaus, police director for Tennessee Immigrant Refuge Rights Coalition. "We value families staying together, we value human dignity and we value being able to be a welcoming state, that recognizes, even though our immigration system is broken and outdated, these are human beings who call Tennessee home."