February 10, 2017
NASHVILLE, TN — Tennessee has no sanctuary cities and a state senator and Republican gubernatorial hopeful would like to keep it that way. State Sen. Mark Green, Republican of Clarksville, has introduced a bill which bars law enforcement agencies, including campus police from engaging in so-called sanctuary policies, even if those policies are informal. Green’s bill provides a relatively exhaustive list of what would be considered such a policy under his proposal and directs that cities engaging in them would be denied state funding.
The bill defines sanctuary policies as prohibitions on reporting immigration status to federal authorities, refusal to comply with detainer warrants, imposing condition or otherwise hindering the transfer of undocumented aliens to federal custody, and prohibitions on police from inquiring about someone’s immigration status. While Tennessee law already requires police and local governments to comply with federal immigration law, some of the sanctuary policies laid out in the bill are not violations of the law. For example, federal law does not require law enforcement to check the immigration status of arrested individuals, but there are programs in place to encourage it.