Bill Haslam

A bill that seeks to prohibit sanctuary cities across Tennessee will become law without his Governor Bill Haslam's signature. The bill requires law enforcement to comply with federal immigration requests to detain immigrants who entered the country illegally.

The bill also bans local governments from adopting "sanctuary policies."

Haslam met with reporters Monday about his decision, including NewsChannel 5's Kyle Horan and WSMV's Edward Burch.  

On April 25 House Bill 2315 passed 64-to-23 in the House of Representatives. It’s companion bill in the Senate passed 27-to-5.

Tennessee does not currently have sanctuary cities.

Here’s what is in the bill:

  • The bill will prohibit state and local governmental entities and officials from adopting sanctuary policies.

  • State and local entities that adopt sanctuary city policies will be ineligible for economic and community development state funds until the policy is “repealed, rescinded, or otherwise no longer in effect.”

  • Bill mandate that law enforcement comply with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement requests to detain immigrants who entered the country illegally.

What have local and state leaders have said about the measure?

At the May 15 meeting, Nashville’s city council approved a resolution that asks Gov. Haslam to veto the bill that would ban sanctuary cities in Tennessee.

The council voted 21-4 to approve the memorializing resolution, a type of resolution that requests action from a government body or official. The resolution was filed by at-large council member and mayoral candidate Erica Gilmore.

Gilmore called the state legislation “harmful,” adding that the bill would “tear apart families.” Nashville's police chief and school board members have also questioned the bill, she said.

U.S. Rep. Diane Black, a republican candidate for governor, launched a petition drive urging Haslam to sign the legislation. Black has introduced and supported legislation that defunds sanctuary cities.

Metro Schools Director Shawn Joseph called on Gov. Haslam to veto the bill, saying: “It is important to our students’ development and well-being that their parents support their academic pursuits and participate in their education … for a student to learn at his or her best, each child must feel safe.”

Leaders from 13 organizations, including the American Civil Liberties Union, National Immigrant Justice Center and NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, signed a joint letter asking Haslam to veto the bill.

According to The Tennessean’s Natalie Allison, Gov. Haslam said his office received more public requests to veto the bill than any other legislation this session:

Gov. Haslam had three options: sign, veto or allow the bill pass without his signature.

Dylan Skye Aycock is a Nashville-based journalist and photographer. As a reporter for Rover, Aycock follows transportation, housing and retail trends, as well as other hyperlocal and city-wide issues that affect residents in Green Hills and Belle Meade.

She previously contributed written and visual content to The Murfreesboro Pulse, American Songwriter Magazine and The Tennessean. Aycock earned a journalism degree from Middle Tennessee State University, where she honed her craft as editor-in-chief of Sidelines, the university's student-run publication. When she's not out on assignment or live-tweeting city council meetings, you can find her discovering new local spots or catching a show at one of Nashville's many music venues.


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