Senate Speaker Pro Tempore Jim Tracy (R-Shelbyville), who passed a law in 2009 preventing any city in Tennessee from becoming a "sanctuary city" for illegal aliens, said any action taken by Metro Government of Nashville to try to skirt it will draw a strong legislative response. The Metropolitan Council approved the ordinance on Tuesday evening, setting the measure up for a final vote next month.
The law sponsored by Tracy prohibits local governments in Tennessee, or the head of such localities, from passing any ordinances or policies that allows for a sanctuary city to be located in the state. It was designed to be a preemptive strike to guard against adoption of any policies to protect those who are in the United States illegally, like the one adopted by the Metro Council yesterday. It also urged the State Attorney General and local governments to pursue any federal funds allocated to combat illegal immigration.
"There is a high cost to illegal immigration for our cities, counties and state," said Senator Tracy. "That is why we took action in 2009 to prevent it. The ordinance passed yesterday clearly defies the letter and the spirit of our state law."
The law states: "A local governmental entity or official shall not adopt any ordinance or written policy that expressly prohibits a local governmental entity, official, or employee from complying with applicable federal law pertaining to persons that reside within the state illegally. An official shall not materially interfere with the ability of a local governmental entity, official or employee of a municipality or a county to comply with applicable federal law pertaining to persons that reside within the state illegally."
"Obviously, the Metro resolution is contradictory of the state prohibition," added Tracy. "The first response, should the ordinance pass, is to request an Attorney General's opinion. Then if any further legislative action is needed, it will be filed immediately.