Friday, December 13, 2019

Mayor’s Immigration Task Force Delivers Final Report, Recommendations for Future Policy Decisions

Metro Press release, 12-13-2019 - Today, the Mayor’s Office released the final report of the Mayor’s Immigration Task Force, which includes an analysis of current Metro department practices and procedures related to requests from federal immigration authorities and recommendations for policy decisions moving forward. The report was created with input from immigration advocacy organizations, local law enforcement officials, and members of Metro Council.
“The Immigration Task Force, especially Chairperson Shanna Hughey, have my sincere thanks for their hard work and dedication over these past several weeks,” said Mayor John Cooper. “I have said two things repeatedly about federal immigration enforcement in Nashville: Our city agencies cannot be expected to use its limited resources to do the work of the federal government, and it is my administration’s goal to help build a Nashville that works for everyone. This includes the valued members of our many immigrant communities. My administration will carefully review the task force’s report as we consider policy decisions related to federal immigration enforcement actions moving forward.”
The Mayor’s Immigration Task Force’s key findings are as follows: 
  • A limited number of Metro Departments/Offices have received requests from federal immigration authorities.
  • A limited number of Metro Departments/Offices have policies or practices governing their responses to requests from federal immigration authorities.
  • Metro Departments/Offices do not have policies related to reporting to the Mayor’s Office about communications with federal immigration authorities.
“This report is an important step to take as we address this critical issue for Nashville’s immigrant families,” said Fabian Bedne, the Mayor’s Office liaison to the Immigration Task Force. “Metro Government clearly has work to do in creating and implementing a uniform reporting and response policy around requests from federal immigration officials.”
On October 14, 2019, Mayor Cooper rescinded Mayor Briley’s Executive Order No. 11, due to a lack of sufficient clarity for either immigrant families or Metro Government employees as noted by many community stakeholders, including immigration advocacy groups. At the time, the State of Tennessee had also given the Mayor’s Office a deadline of October 18, 2019 to address issues created by Executive Order No. 11 or risk losing four grants totaling over $1.1 million.
The Mayor’s Immigration Task Force, chaired by Shanna Singh Hughey, President of ThinkTennessee, gathered in publicly noticed sessions four times beginning on October 30, 2019. The group’s final meeting took place on December 9, 2019.
A complete list of the Mayor’s Immigration Task Force follows:
  • Shanna Singh Hughey: President, ThinkTennessee (Chair)
  • Juliana Ospina Cano: Executive Director, Conexion Americas
  • Hank Clay: Chief of Staff, Metro Nashville Public Schools
  • Bob Cooper: Director, Metro Nashville Department of Law
  • Ana Escobar: Judge, Metro Nashville General Sessions Court
  • Mike Hagar: Deputy Chief, Metro Nashville Police Department
  • Daron Hall: Sheriff, Davidson County
  • Mary Kathryn Harcombe: Legal Director, Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition
  • Torry Johnson: Former Metro Nashville District Attorney General
  • Sandra Sepulveda: Metro Councilwoman, District 30
  • Zulfat Suara: Metro Councilwoman At-Large

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