Tennessee Gov. Takes Bold Step To Ensure No Illegal Migrant Goes Unreported

By Greg Moriarty | Saturday, 13 April 2024 11:59 PM
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In a move that contrasts sharply with the "sanctuary" policies of Democratic-led cities and states, Tennessee's Republican Governor, Bill Lee, has signed a bill mandating local law enforcement agencies to report illegal immigrants to federal authorities.

The new law, known as House Bill 2124, obligates law enforcement officials to liaise with federal authorities regarding the immigration status of any individual. This includes reporting knowledge of any alien unlawfully present in the United States and cooperating with federal officials in their identification, apprehension, detention, or removal.

While the previous state law permitted law enforcement officers to communicate with federal authorities, it did not mandate them to do so. The Tennessee Association of Chiefs of Police and the Tennessee Sheriffs Association have stated that all law enforcement agencies are already coordinating with federal officials. The new law, which will come into effect on July 1, formalizes this practice.

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Governor Lee defended the legislation, stating, "When there is an interaction with law enforcement, it's important that the appropriate authorities are notified of the status of that individual. I think that makes sense. So, I'm in support of that legislation."

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The law also includes provisions to protect victims and witnesses of possible criminal conduct. It prohibits law enforcement agencies from communicating with federal immigration officials about the immigration status of such individuals.

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However, the Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition (TIRRC) has criticized the bill as being overly broad. Lisa Sherman Luna, the executive director for the TIRRC and TIRRC Votes, accused the governor of ignoring warnings from police chiefs, educators, domestic violence victims' advocates, and legal experts. She claimed that the law could lead to racial profiling, unlawful detention, and family separations.

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The bill's sponsor, Senator Brent Taylor, refuted these allegations. He insisted that the measure would not encourage racial profiling, stating, "This is not going down and hunting somebody who looks Hispanic, pulling them over and demanding papers."

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