City officials in Mt. Juliet have received backlash for unanimously passing a resolution that proclaims it is not a sanctuary city and denouncing immigrants who are here illegally.
Last Monday, the commissioners declared it will be a "rule of law" city meaning it won't stop any efforts to enforce federal immigration laws in the city.
The term "sanctuary city" does not have a legal definition and may vary depending on who you ask. It is used for cities with policies that protect its undocumented immigrants from the immigration laws such as deportation.
"We encourage other cities to also go on the record saying they will not be a sanctuary city," Mt. Juliet Vice-Mayor James Maness told NewsChannel 5.
Maness sponsored the resolution after hearing concerns from a constituent about two weeks ago.
"As a city, we are not going to interfere or stop federal efforts. Sometimes you just kind of scratch your head why somebody would work so hard to impede the efforts to enforce our laws and secure our borders," Maness added.
Mt. Juliet is one of the first, if not the first city to publicly announce a resolution like this. There are already laws in place that prohibit cities in Tennessee to adopt ordinances similar to ones in sanctuary cities.
However, the Tennessee Immigrant & Refugee Rights Coalition said the resolution is an embarrassment to the city.
The policy manager said families who are contributing to society are being targeted for the outdated immigration laws.
"I can't understand why any city would want to send a message that they should be fearful or unwelcomed," Policy Manager Lisa Sherman-Nikolaus wondered. "It isn't great for public safety and community trust and it doesn't value the contributions that immigrants, regardless of their status, make to that community."
The organization has now sent an alert to its members asking them to send messages to city officials in hopes to rescind the resolution.
According to the organization, there are 120,000 undocumented immigrants in the state. There are more than 300 sanctuary cities and counties in the country.