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Tennessee to ban sanctuary cities; governor just wants to 'move on from it

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Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam allowed a bill banning sanctuary cities to become law without his signature. Haslam said he didn't want to prolong the debate by vetoing the bill. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam will not veto a bill banning sanctuary cities in the state, allowing the proposal to become law and setting up potential protests and legal challenges, The Tennessean reported.

Haslam said he didn't want to prolong the debate by vetoing the bill, saying a veto would likely lead to a special session or the reconsideration of the measure in early 2019.

"I think the best thing for the state to do with this decision is to move on from it," Haslam said Monday.

What about the bill?

The bill in question is House Bill 2315, which "prohibits state and local governmental entities and officials from adopting sanctuary policies."

Under HB 2315, state and local law enforcement agencies will be required to cooperate with federal immigration authorities, and comply with requests by immigration agents to detain illegal immigrants for deportation.

Haslam responded to critics of the bill by saying it won't actually change much about the way law enforcement operates.

"We spent a lot of time looking at what are the legal ramifications of this, and we became convinced that really other than expressly stating what was already allowed [it] didn't change [much]," Haslam said, according to The Tennessean.

The law will take effect January 2019.

What is the opposition?

The American Civil Liberties Union and the Southern Poverty Law Center, as well as other civil rights, immigration and law enforcement organizations are pursuing or encouraging legal action against the bill.

Some law enforcement officials, including Nashville Police Chief Steve Anderson, believe the requirement to cooperate with federal agents are burdensome, and that the law will scare people off from reporting crimes.

Stephanie Teatro, co-executive director of the Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition, said in a statement that Haslam is on the wrong side of history.

"When history looks back at the steady march of Tennessee towards becoming a hostile and dangerous place for immigrant families, at the rising tide of nativism and xenophobia, and at the immoral attacks on immigrants in this country, Governor Haslam will see himself on the wrong side."

Texas ban holding up

Texas passed a similar ban on sanctuary cities last year, and while it is still under legal challenge, judges ruled in March that it can take effect after it was initially blocked in August.

(H/T The Hill)

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