Illegal immigrants bill signed into law Monday
Posted: Wednesday, June 30, 2010 6:08 am
NASHVILLE (AP) — Gov. Phil Bredesen on Monday signed into law a measure that would require the state’s jailers to determine whether inmates are in the country illegally and report them if they are.
“I believe there has been significant political posturing on this issue,” the Democratic governor said in a statement. “While I do have concerns about this legislation, this bill seeks to set up a verification process similar to what exists in our state’s major cities, and I have been supportive of these efforts.”
Sponsors have said the bill is necessary because not all jurisdictions are sharing information with Immigration and Customs Enforcement when they arrest someone they suspect is illegally in the country.
The American Civil Lib-erties Union of Tennessee wanted Bredesen to veto the legislation because it felt the measure would encourage racial profiling.
“Who will have to prove citizenship? Latinos or others who might look or sound foreign,” ACLU-TN Executive Director Hedy Weinberg recently told The Associated Press. “The bottom line is this type of legislation effectively creates a police state because it requires individuals to carry documentation with them at all times (to avoid harassment).”
Some sheriffs also op-posed the measure because it was unclear where money would come from to carry it out, since no funding is included.
Last week, Bredesen allowed a resolution commending Arizona on that state’s controversial new immigration law to be transmitted without his signature.
The Arizona law requires authorities to question people about their immigration status if there’s reason to suspect they’re in the country illegally. The Tennessee resolution, passed earlier this month, congratulates Arizona lawmakers and Gov. Jan Brewer for “their actions to protect their citizens and the borders of our great nation.”
The Arizona law has brought condemnation and boycotts as well as accolades.
Read HB0670 at http://www.capitol.tn.gov.
Published in The Messenger 6.29.10