Here are some updates on two pieces of bad legislation that were recently passed into law in Tennessee, and that may impact immigrant communities in Knoxville and around the state.
The anti-sanctuary law, HB 2315, prohibits state and local governments and entities from enacting any type of sanctuary policy, which include policies that limit cooperation between local police and ICE, that prevent police from asking about immigration status, and that prevent local police from detaining people for ICE.
The bill originally required TN law enforcement agencies to enter into 287(g) agreements, but this part was amended before it passed into law. Police may enter into 287(g) agreements, but they are no longer compelled to do so (basically, nothing here has changed, and Knox County continues to be the only place in TN with a 287(g) agreement).
It is not clear, at this point, the extent to which this law will require other governmental agencies (schools, libraries, health department, etc) to comply with ICE. With regard to schools, it is important to remember that federal legislation (like FERPA) and court rulings (like Plyer v Doe) currently limit the extent to which schools can share information with ICE, and that ICE policies (like the sensitive locations memo) also limit the extent to which ICE engages in immigration enforcement in schools. All of these school-related policies stand in spite of Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos’s recent and abhorrent comments that schools should be able to decide whether or not to report undocumented students and families to ICE.
This law will go into effect January 2019, unless it is blocked by the courts (which I suspect may happen). If it does go into effect, very little may change (practically speaking) in local law enforcement, since our sheriff already cooperates to the extent possible with ICE.
This bill bans local governments from issuing their own IDs (but exempts student IDs and government employee IDs). Originally, the bill banned the matricula consular, which is a form of legal identification issued by the Mexican government. This portion of the bill was amended before it passed into law. In terms of local impact, the City of Knoxville does not issue municipal IDs, so there will be little immediate effect.