Iowa and Texas Anti-Sanctuary City Laws Are Strong Precedent for Haslam to Sign New Tennessee Legislation

Governor Bill Haslam should look to Texas, Iowa and the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals to support signing Tennessee’s new anti-sanctuary city legislation which passed 64-23 in the House and 25-5 in the Senate.

The Texas sanctuary city law signed last year, is the strictest in the country and more extensive than the Tennessee bill. In March, a unanimous three-judge panel of the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals allowed all but one part of the Texas law to go into effect. Most importantly for Governor Haslam’s consideration, the provisions in the Texas law requiring local law enforcement to comply with ICE detainers, was upheld by the court.

The only part of the Texas law blocked by the court was prohibiting public officials from endorsing sanctuary city policies, a provision not included in the Tennessee bill.

The Texas law includes criminal penalties for refusing to comply with an ICE detainer request. Tennessee’s bill does not include any criminal sanctions.

In ruling to uphold the Texas law on compliance with ICE detainer requests, the Court effectively dismissed the same Fourth Amendment arguments being put forth by the TN Immigrant & Refugee Rights Coalition (TIRRC) against the Tennessee bill.

Citing to an earlier U.S. Supreme Court decision, the appellate judges held that when local law enforcement comply with an ICE detainer issued for a criminal illegal alien, there is no Constitutional problem:

it is undisputed that federal immigration officers may seize aliens based on an administrative warrant attesting to probable cause of removability. Abel v. United States, 362 U.S. 217, 233-34, 80 S. Ct. 683, 694 (1960). It is also evident that current ICE policy requires the Form I-247A to be accompanied by one of two such administrative warrants. On the form, an ICE officer certifies that probable cause of removability exists. Thus, an ICE-detainer request evidences probable cause of removability in every instance.

Under the collective-knowledge doctrine, moreover, the ICE officer’s knowledge may be imputed to local officials even when those officials are unaware of the specific facts that establish probable cause of removability.

The ICE detainer form, specifically Form I-247A was discussed by the sponsors of the Tennessee bill during committee hearings.

Last month, Iowa’s governor signed an anti-sanctuary city bill that also requires law enforcement to comply with ICE detainers. Similar to Tennessee’s bill, the Iowa law allows withholding economic community development grants from local governments that adopt policies obstructing cooperation with federal immigration authorities.

The Iowa law and the Tennessee bill both specifically prohibit discriminatory practices by law enforcement in implementing the law.

Regardless, opponents of the Iowa bill used the same scripted arguments that were used during deliberation of Tennessee’s bill and which continue to be circulated by TIRRC and Latino Memphis including claims that the bill will result in racial profiling.

Proponents of the Tennessee bill have countered the misinformation by explaining that the policies framed by HB2315 are triggered when a person is first arrested on local criminal charges and then is subsequently discovered to not have legal immigration status.

Sen. Mark Green who sponsored the Senate anti-sanctuary city companion bill explained to his colleagues, that illegal aliens may qualify for a lawful immigration status by coming forward to report crimes through the award of “U,” “T,” and “S” visas. Nevertheless, opponents have continued to insist that illegal aliens will be discouraged from reporting crime for fear of being deported even though there no evidence has been presented to show that this actually occurs.

Last night TIRRC held a rally at legislative plaza to support shielding criminal illegal aliens from deportation and instead, returning them to the communities they have already victimized.

ICE data makes a strong case that sanctuary cities pose an increased risk to public safety. Following a spike in jurisdictions refusing to cooperate with the federal government in 2014, ICE analyzed the effect of noncooperation nationally and found:

  • Between January 1, 2014 and September 30, 2014, sanctuary jurisdictions released over 9,000 aliens that ICE had sought to remove;
  • Of those aliens released, nearly 6,000 had significant prior criminal histories or other public safety concerns;
  • Of those with a prior history of concern, 58% had prior felony charges or convictions; and

Over 2,000 of the total number of criminal illegal aliens released were re-arrested within that 10-month period, and ICE has not been able to re-apprehend those individuals.


Related posts