NILC and TIRRC: New Tennessee Law Does Not Pass Constitutional Muster

June 9, 2017

 Juan Gastelum, [email protected], 213-375-3149

NILC and TIRRC: New Tennessee Law Does Not Pass Constitutional Muster

NASHVILLE — Tennessee governor Bill Haslam has signed SB 1260, an anti-immigrant measure that effectively criminalizes someone for being in the U.S. without authorization if that person has been convicted of any state offense, including minor misdemeanors. Such legislation has been proposed in the state several times before, but this is the first time such legislation has been enacted.

“All of us, regardless of where we were born, should expect to be treated equally and fairly, whether we’re in Nashville or New York,” said Melissa Keaney, staff attorney with the National Immigration Law Center. “Tennessee’s elected officials have enacted an indefensible piece of legislation, and we will work with our partners in the state to prevent it from infringing upon the constitutionally protected rights of all Tennesseans. Governor Haslam, we will not be afraid to challenge these harmful policies in court.”

“Without making a case for how this bill keeps communities safe or advances justice, the legislature has once again singled out a group of Tennesseans for differential treatment, undermining our values of fairness and due process,” said Stephanie Teatro, the co–executive director of the Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition (TIRRC). ”From banning refugees to criminalizing all undocumented immigrants, it has become abundantly clear that elected officials in Tennessee will copy and paste the Trump administration’s failing policies rather than finding real solutions to real problems facing Tennessee communities.”