I still occasionally see people refer to Nashville as a "sanctuary city." We are not. Just because Mayor Barry offers platitudes that Nashville will remain a hospitable and open friendly place does not make us a sanctuary city. Back on January 26, the day after President Trump issued his executive order saying sanctuary cities would be subject to losing federal funding, I posted a piece called Nashville is not a sanctuary city. I explained what makes a city a sanctuary city and why Nashville is not one. Earlier this week The Tennessean ran an article called Why Nashville is not a sanctuary city, and what that means.
The article explains that a "sanctuary city" has no legal meaning but that cities with sanctuary policies typically decline to cooperate with federal immigration officials outside of what is specifically required by law. When the police arrest someone, the arrest goes into a shared database. When the Immigration and customs Enforcement agency (ICE) sees a person of interest has been arrested, it will request local law enforcement hold the person for 48 hours to give, ICE time to pick up the person. This is called a "detainer." Sanctuary cities refuse to honor these request. Nashville, does not do that.
A city is not a sanctuary city simply because government officials do not inquire about a persons immigration status when a person has an encounter with government officials. Cities are not required to enforce immigration law. Essentially, "Sanctuary Cities," are cities that refuse to honor ICE detainer request.