Vice Mayor David Briley posted the above message on Facebook yesterday. He says he will resist the demagory and hate coming from D.C and if that mean losing federal dollar then he would rather do that than "sacrifice our city's soul." I don't know what to make of this. Our federal dollars are not at risk. Sanctuary cities that harbor illegal aliens and refuse to cooperate with the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency are at risk but Nashville is not at risk of losing federal dollars. Nashville is not a sanctuary city. Is David Briley sitting up a straw man so he can appear courageous in the face of a threat that doesn't even exist? Is David Briley under the mistaken impression that we are a sanctuary city, or is he proposing we become a sanctuary city?
Mayor Barry and others have made statements that Nashville would remain an open and welcoming community and the police and other city agencies have let it be know that citizens should not hesitate to cooperate with government officials due to fear of deportation. That does not make us a sanctuary city.
There is a difference between the city of Nashville officials not inquiring about the legal status of people who have encounters with the police or other public servants and refusing to cooperate with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Agency. While Nashville does not enforce immigration law we do not refuse cooperation with ICE. State law prohibits any city in Tennessee from being a sanctuary city.
In 1996 Congress passed the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act (IIRIRA). This act requires local governments to cooperate with Department of Homeland Security's Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Agency. Cities that refuse are called "sanctuary cities." President Obama did not enforce IIRIRA and allowed sanctuary cities to defy the law with impunity.
Some cities have adopted declarations declaring to be sanctuary cities and proudly proclaiming they would harbor and protect illegal aliens and defy federal law. Some have adopted formal written specific sanctuary policies that prohibit government employees from notifying the federal government of the presence of illegal aliens living in their jurisdiction. The policies have often been enacted by ordinance or resolutions. Nashville has not done such. Other jurisdiction have not declared themselves to be sanctuary entities but by their actions are labeled as such. Nashville would not appear to rise to that level.
Yesterday, President Trump signed an Executive Order Enhancing Public Safety in the Interior of the United States. Among other things it strips federal grant money from sanctuary cities that harbor undocumented immigrants. It sates the following:
The Executive Order itself does not list cities but says the Attorney General will designate which cities are sanctuary jurisdictions. Since the Attorney General is not yet confirmed there is no list yet, but one can guess which cities will be on the list. Some of those cities likely to be on the list are taking deviant position vowing they will not change their policy. Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, said Chicago would defy the order. “We’re going to stay a sanctuary city,” Emanuel said, according to the Chicago Tribune. “Wherever you came from, you’re welcome here.”"(c) Ensure that jurisdictions that fail to comply with applicable Federal law do not receive Federal funds, except as mandated by law."...Sec. 9. Sanctuary Jurisdictions. It is the policy of the executive branch to ensure, to the fullest extent of the law, that a State, or a political subdivision of a State, shall comply with 8 U.S.C. 1373.
(a) In furtherance of this policy, the Attorney General and the Secretary, in their discretion and to the extent consistent with law, shall ensure that jurisdictions that willfully refuse to comply with 8 U.S.C. 1373 (sanctuary jurisdictions) are not eligible to receive Federal grants, except as deemed necessary for law enforcement purposes by the Attorney General or the Secretary. The Secretary has the authority to designate, in his discretion and to the extent consistent with law, a jurisdiction as a sanctuary jurisdiction. The Attorney General shall take appropriate enforcement action against any entity that violates 8 U.S.C. 1373, or which has in effect a statute, policy, or practice that prevents or hinders the enforcement of Federal law.
Cities that do defy the order could stand to lose million of dollars in federal funding. Since Nashville is not a sanctuary city by proclamation or by actions, it is not expected to be on the list which would make it subject to losing Federal funding. President Trump's Executive order also prioritizes who would be deported and says deportations should increase. I would expect that as sympathetic stories start being reported of families being torn apart by deportations, some in Nashville's progressive community will call for Nashville to declare of policy of non-cooperation and to become a sanctuary city. I don't expect it to happen. For Nashville to become a sanctuary city we would not only be defying the Federal Government but also the State government. Also, while I don't doubt that Mayor Barry is a true progressive she also seems pragmatic and sensible and I would be surprised if she took such a combative and expensive position. I would not be surprised if the Council passes some meaningless resolution that is all bluster and no substance, but I really doubt Nashville will become a sanctuary city.
For a comprehensive list of all sanctuary cities from an organization that focuses on this issue, follow this link. I would doubt that the federal government would go after every city on this list but would likely concentrate on the most belligerent and publicly defiant cities. I would also expect some cities that were sanctuary cities when there were no consequences, will cease being sanctuary cities.