FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASEMonday, May 21, 2018
Contact: Jacob Weinberg | firstname.lastname@example.org | 703-350-3774
Nashville, TN - Today, Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam allowed one of the country’s most extreme, anti-immigrant bills to become law. Without a formal veto, the dangerous provisions of HB 2315 will go into effect in January 2019.
The law prohibits common-sense local policies that promote community trust and public safety, makes Tennessee a dangerous place for immigrant families, and cements our reputation as one of the most hostile and unwelcoming states in the nation. This legislation requires that local governments and law enforcement act as deportation agents and carry out federal immigration enforcement.
The following is a quote from Stephanie Teatro, Co-Executive Director of the Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition (TIRRC):
“When HB 2315 landed on his desk, the Governor was presented with a clear choice. He could have heeded the warnings from police chiefs, educators, domestic violence victims’ advocates, and legal experts and stopped this dangerous and misguided bill from becoming law. Instead he caved to the most extreme fringe of the electorate. He chose hate and fear over good governance.
The constitution of our state anticipated that the legislative process would sometimes fail to reveal the true character and consequence of a bill, which is why the executive branch has the power and the obligation to veto harmful legislation. The governor failed today in his responsibility to check the legislative branch by allowing HB 2315 to become law.
In moments like these, leaders are tested. 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.”
The following is a quote from Leticia Alvarez, Organizing Director of the Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition (TIRRC):
“The governor’s decision to allow HB 2315 to become law is devastating to Tennessee’s hundreds of thousands of immigrant families. By opening up our state and local governments to immigration enforcement and giving ICE a green light to target immigrants for deportation through public employees and agencies, Tennessee will be a dangerous place for our families.
From their silence in the face of the devastating Morristown raid to their callous passage of such a dangerous bill, it is clear that lawmakers don’t see immigrants as Tennesseans. One day immigrant families will be treated with dignity, respect, and be welcomed; our contributions will be acknowledged and our participation valued, and we will be recognized as the Tennesseans we are.
Tennessee is our home and we are here to stay. We will keep organizing our communities and supporters across the state to ensure the legislature and policies reflect the needs and values of all Tennesseans, not the fears and worst instincts of the most extreme fringe of the electorate.”
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.