The sponsors of a Nashville "sanctuary city"-like push have canceled next week's final vote.
According to reports, Nashville Councilmen Bob Mendes and Colby Sledge said Tuesday they won't hold the July 6 vote. Wednesday, they said the proposal was withdrawn.
"I prefer to look at it as lessons learned, rather than a loss," said Mendes.
The announcement followed the top city attorney's opinion that the council can't prohibit the sheriff elected to run jails from cooperating with federal authorities on immigration.
"I disagree with the final conclusions, but I respect the lawyers at metro legal and I don't think I'm going to change their mind about that," said Mendes.
Mayor Megan Barry has since urged the council to reconsider the proposal. Unless required under federal or state law or court order, the proposal said Nashville couldn't use its resources to help enforce federal immigration laws, respond to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement requests, or review someone's citizenship.
It said Nashville would only honor immigration-related detention requests under warrants.
On Thursday, State Representative Judd Matheny released the following:
"[Wednesday], with the withdrawing of the proposed Nashville sanctuary city ordinances by Councilmen Mendes and Sledge, the voices of many Tennesseans were heard. The threat of Nashville becoming a sanctuary city or even a de facto sanctuary city for illegal immigrants who commit criminal offenses mobilized grassroots organizations and numerous citizens to stand in the gap for the safety and security of all Tennesseans and legal residents of the state including immigrants and refugees.
We would like to personally thank the individuals and organizations that advocated for their fellow Tennesseans by emailing and calling their elected officials including Metro Nashville Council Members. We are a government of, for, and by the people and public participation is the cornerstone of our republic.
Additionally, we would like to thank the Tennessee General Assembly for their overwhelming and decisive response to the pending legislation. There were over 60 members of the Tennessee House and 9 Senators who joined in publicly denouncing the proposed ordinances that threatened the safety of Tennesseans.
Tennessee has flourished under Republican leadership and we have had one of the most constitutionally sound anti-sanctuary city laws in place since 2009. The law has not prohibited legal immigrants nor refugees from prospering in Tennessee nor prohibited them from adding value to our state and our communities. Looking to circumvent or ignore state law by setting up conditions for a sanctuary city or even a de facto sanctuary city when the current situation has proven effective leads one to the conclusion that the intent was not for the betterment of Tennesseans and legal residents, but one that enhanced criminal activity. Freedom is always best protected when everyone respects the rule of law and is required to obey it. Many Tennesseans obviously agreed.
As legislators, we look to improve and protect the lives and liberties of Tennesseans and of those legally within our borders including immigrants, refugees, and U.S. citizens from other states. With those intentions in mind, we look forward to working in partnership with Nashville and Metro Davidson County for the betterment of our great state."