Task force: Metro agencies need policies for dealing with immigration requests

Posted at 10:43 AM, Dec 13, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-13 19:18:27-05

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF)  — Mayor John Cooper’s Immigration Task Force has released its findings as to how Metro departments and agencies respond to requests from federal immigration agents.

Back in October, Cooper rescinded former Mayor Briley's controversial executive order that called on Tennessee lawmakers to repeal a controversial law banning sanctuary cities.

At the time, Cooper said the executive order provided “insufficient clarity for either immigrant families as well as Metropolitan Government employees.” He also announced the creation of a task force that would report its findings in 60 days.

On Friday, the mayor’s office said the task force’s key findings were:

  • “A limited number of Metro Departments/Offices have received requests from federal immigration authorities.”
  • “A limited number of Metro Departments/Offices have policies or practices governing their responses to requests from federal immigration authorities.”
  • “Metro Departments/Offices do not have policies related to reporting to the Mayor’s Office about communications with federal immigration authorities.”

The task force recommended Metro departments and offices adopt a policy to communicate with the mayor's office about any immigration requests. They also want to provide clarity to immigrant families and city employees about those requests – all while complying with state and federal law.

Councilwoman Sandra Sepulveda sits on the 10-member immigration task force. In their findings, she said members are requesting every city department and school issue a monthly report on interactions with federal immigration agencies. And to notify the mayor's office in no more than three days if communication with federal officials are not aligned with policies or routines.

"When you live in Nashville and it’s one of the most diverse cities in the south, especially here who are refugees, and immigrants, huge Latino population, huge Kurdish population; we got to make sure we’re taking care of our people" , Sepulveda said.

Currently, many city departments had no or a very limited policy on handling requests from federal immigration authorities.

"If people are afraid then people aren’t going to call into the police if something’s going on; we wanted to make that we had something concrete to present", Sepulveda says this created a lot of confusion.

In a statement, Mayor Cooper said the administration will carefully review the task force’s report as they consider policy decisions related to federal immigration enforcement actions moving forward.

Read the full report here.