Tennessee Gov.: Sanctuary bill to become law without signature

Associated Press

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – Republican Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam says he’s allowing legislation billed as a push against sanctuary cities to become law without his signature, saying it has stirred up irrational fear on both sides.

Haslam told reporters Monday that Tennessee has no sanctuary cities and state law prohibits them. He said it’s also not a mass deportation bill. Haslam said the best thing to do is move on.

The legislation bans local governments from having “sanctuary” policies and threatens to withhold future state economic and community development money from those not complying.

Local governments would have to comply with federal immigration detainers of people identified as in the country illegally.

Haslam said police departments couldn’t adopt policies not to ask about immigration status in routine encounters, but wouldn’t be required to ask.

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The following statement can be attributed to ACLU-TN Executive Director Hedy Weinberg:

“We are extremely disappointed in Governor Haslam’s decision to allow this unconstitutional and dangerous legislation to become law without his signature. Immigrants should not have to live with the constant fear that any local police officer or sheriff they encounter is a de facto immigration agent. By allowing this bill to become law, the governor has ensured that thousands of Tennesseans will be forced to live in the shadows, in fear of reporting when they are victims or witnesses to crimes and undermining local law enforcement’s ability to use their discretion and resources in the way that they believe best protects public safety in their local community. The dangerous impact this bill will have on immigrant communities has led to a public outcry throughout the state and from all corners of the country, and it is disgraceful that the governor chose not to listen to the diverse voices united in calling for immigrants in our state to be treated fairly, in alignment with the Constitution.”

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