PRESS STATEMENTTuesday, April 24, 2018Contact: Lisa Sherman-Nikolaus | Lisa@tnimmigrant.orgNASHVILLE - The Tennessee state legislature is considering two incredibly harmful anti-immigrant bills this week that would make the state a hostile and dangerous environment for hard-working immigrant families. These bills create significant barriers for Tennessee residents to interact with their government, waste local law enforcement resources, undermine public safety, and further marginalize already vulnerable Tennesseans.
These extreme bills are damaging to the state’s reputation and do not reflect the values and sentiments of Tennessee voters. In fact, a recent NBC poll found that six out of ten Tennesseans favor legalization over deportation for undocumented immigrants. And after ICE antagonized the immigrant community in East Tennessee with a massive workplace raid earlier this month, local faith leaders, teachers, farmers, and neighbors reacted with outrage and support for immigrant families. The raid has prompted many conservative voters to rethink their view on immigration policy.
HB2315/SB2332 - The "Anti-Sanctuary City" BillHB2315 is one of the most extreme, anti-immigrant proposals currently pending in the country. It requires local law enforcement to inquire about immigration and citizenship status, prohibits common-sense local policies that promote community trust and public safety, and takes away discretion from local law enforcement, turning every request from ICE into an unconditional directive. The bill is scheduled for a vote on the Senate floor this evening and on the House floor tomorrow morning.
HB2312/SB2333 - Bill Banning Consular and Non-State IDsSB2333 would prohibit local and state governments from accepting consular IDs or non-state IDs. SB 2333 is one of the country’s most restrictive and discriminatory identification proposals. This bill is scheduled for a vote on the Senate floor this evening, after passing the House of Representatives last week.
Stephanie Teatro, Co-Executive Director of the Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition, issued the following statement:
“On the heels of the massive ICE raid that devastated East Tennessee communities, the state legislature is seeking to make mass deportation official state policy. The two bills under consideration would make Tennessee a dangerous place for immigrant families, establish our state's reputation as a hostile and unwelcoming place, and severely inhibit the work of local governments and law enforcement.
Despite the the serious concerns about the legal, practical, and financial implications of this bill raised by advocates, law enforcement, and local governments, these bills are on the verge of becoming law. We urge legislators and Governor Haslam to reject these extreme and cruel proposals."
TIRRC is a statewide, immigrant and refugee-led collaboration whose mission is to empower immigrants and refugees throughout Tennessee to develop a unified voice, defend their rights, and create an atmosphere in which they are recognized as positive contributors to the state. Since its founding in 2001, TIRRC has worked to develop immigrant leadership, build the capacity of its immigrant-led member organizations, help immigrant community members understand and engage in the civic process, and educate the public about policies that would better promote integration of new immigrants and facilitate their full participation in US society. In just a few years TIRRC has grown from a grassroots network of community leaders into one of the most diverse and effective coalitions of its kind, a model for emerging immigrant rights organizations in the Southeast and throughout the United States.