Metro Lawyer: Immigration Bill Not Enforceable

Posted at 6:03 AM, Jun 27, 2017
and last updated 2017-06-27 14:47:23-04

An opinion from Metro's legal director has found that the proposed immigration ordinance in Nashville is not enforceable.  

Metro's Director of Law Jon Cooper has found that Davidson County Sheriff Daron Hall would not be bound by the council's ordinance prohibiting him from cooperating with federal authorities on immigration.

Not only that, Cooper found that the ordinance would not be enforceable because it violates the Metro Charter. 

The ordinance seeks to stop the sheriff from cooperating with federal agents and honoring ICE detainer requests on immigrants.

Keep in mind, it's already passed two council readings with a third and final vote set for July 6.

Sheriff Hall has said all along he would not honor the ordinance because it's a public safety issue.

“To ask me to ignore everything with immigration is to let that person go who is a serious criminal local violator or federal immigration violator,” Hall said.  

Hall also said he didn't believe the council had the authority to tell him how to do his job, and the city attorney agreed.

"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," Hall said Tuesday. 
This legal opinion from the city's own attorney could kill or possibly delay the final vote on the ordinance. 

Nashville Mayor Megan Barry released the following statement: 

“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.”