ACLU-TN Statement on Passage of Mass Deportation Legislation
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Governor Haslam today allowed HB 2315, a bill that effectively turns all state and local law enforcement officers into unpaid immigration agents, to become law without his signature.
HB 2315 requires the warrantless detention of immigrants based on requests from federal immigration agents and prohibits local law enforcement from ensuring that there is probable cause or a judicial warrant before detaining individuals. The measure also requires all law enforcement officers to inquire about immigration and citizenship status and punishes local governments if their law enforcement agencies adopted, formally or informally, policies or practices that limit entanglement with federal immigration enforcement.
In the weeks leading up to the governor’s decision, thousands of individuals from across the state and numerous groups had urged the governor to veto this measure, including the ACLU of Tennessee, the Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition, clergy, educators, domestic and sexual violence advocates, criminal defense attorneys, the Shelby County Commission, the Davidson County Metro Council, Metro Nashville Chief of Police Steve Anderson, national civil rights and immigration advocacy organizations, and many others.
The following statement can be attributed to ACLU-TN Executive Director Hedy Weinberg:
“We are extremely disappointed in Governor Haslam’s decision to sign this unconstitutional and dangerous legislation. 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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