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Bill outlawing sanctuary cities in Tennessee will become law without governor's signature

Posted at 8:34 AM, May 21, 2018
and last updated 2018-05-22 08:46:06-04

A controversial sanctuary city bill will become law in Tennessee without Governor Bill Haslam's signature. 

State lawmakers overwhelmingly passed HB2315, which prohibits cities and counties from adopting policies that would protect undocumented immigrants from federal agents. 

Haslam said Monday that the bill has created a lot of unnecessary fear in the state and doesn’t change the way the state deals with federal immigration agencies. 

When was asked why he wouldn’t veto the bill, Haslam said it’s because it would just prolong the discussion, adding there aren't currently have any sanctuary cities in Tennessee. 

The so-called sanctuary city bill requires law enforcement officials to comply with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement rules, including detainer requests.  


In addition, a city would lose state funding if found to have violated the law. 

Advocates have vocalized their concerns and held a rally with more than 1,000 immigrants nearly two weeks ago.

Speaker Beth Harwell released the following statement Monday afternoon:

"I appreciate Governor Haslam allowing House Bill 2315 to become law. This measure will further allow our local, state, and federal officials to work together to keep our communities safe, building on the law we passed in 2009 to outlaw sanctuary city policies."

Opponents say this makes Tennessee one of the worst states for immigration law. Stephanie Teatro, executive director for Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition, said the immigrant community is terrified at what this means for them.

"We're worried this has given the green light to ICE agents and potentially mean spirited public employees to start targeting immigrant families," said Teatro.