Nashville Mayor asks lawmakers to repeal law banning sanctuary cities

Posted at 11:51 AM, Sep 03, 2019
and last updated 2019-09-03 23:58:15-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Nashville Mayor David Briley has signed an executive order, calling for Tennessee lawmakers to repeal a controversial law that bans sanctuary cities.

Briley signed Executive Order No. 11 on Tuesday, saying he wants the Metro Director of Law to investigate the legality of HB2315 – the state’s law that prohibits cities and counties from adopting policies that would protect undocumented immigrants from federal agents. The bill became law in 2018 without then-Governor Bill Haslam’s signature.

“We’re not a strong city or a strong nation when thousands of our residents are afraid to leave their homes for fear of being arbitrarily separated from their families,” Briley said. “And we’re not a strong Nashville when Nashvillians can’t feel free to participate in the systems that are in place to protect us all and keep everyone safe.”

The executive order will also require metro government department heads to keep track of all immigration requests to city employees from federal agents, and they won’t be disciplined for failure to comply with an ICE request unless required by state or federal law, or by court order.

Exempt groups include independent governing authorities: Metro Nashville Public Schools, Nashville Electric Service, Metropolitan Nashville Airport Authority, Metro Sports Authority and the Metro Hospital Authority, and elected officials due to their independent governing authority

Briley is asking Metro Nashville Public Schools, Nashville Electric Service, Metropolitan Nashville Airport Authority, Metro Sports Authority and the Metro Hospital Authority, to come up with a similar policy for their employees..

Davidson County Sheriff Daron Hall will not be required to abide by the Executive Order and could cooperative with ICE because the Hall is an independently elected official.

Hall did release statement upon request he said, “It’s unfortunate the subject of immigration enforcement is used by both sides of the political spectrum at convenient times. Not only does this mislead the public and create fear but it also confuses public safety employees. Now, there is a local executive order that further complicates the issue.
As far as the Davidson County Sheriff’s Office is concerned we will continue to bring a balanced, responsible approach to this subject and follow state law regardless of the political environment.”

U.S. Rep Mark Green who sponsored HB 2315 when he was in the state senate last year, released a statement, "As I've traveled the 7th district over the August recess, the #1 thing I'm hearing from Tennesseans is they want our immigration laws enforced. I was proud to sponsor the bill in the State Senate adding teeth to our anti-sanctuary cities laws. Mayor Briley needs to follow the law-- instead of play politics now that he's falling behind in his race for re-election."

Click here to read the full order

Briley’s order also pledges Metro government’s support in the effort, saying the law “creates unwarranted fear in Nashville.”

Last week, the Mayor called for an audit of the Metro-Nashville and Davidson County General Sessions Probation Department. In a letter, Briley said probation officers have been tipping off ICE agents for years, as proven by email records.

Read more: Briley calls for audit after report of Metro’s probation department tipping off ICE