• State democrats working on legislation to address effects of new immigration law

    By: Kirstin Garriss

    Updated:

    Democrats from Memphis and Nashville are working on new legislation to address some of the potential effects from the state’s new immigration law.

    The law prohibits local authorities from requiring a warrant or probable cause before complying with federal immigration detainers.

    “We need to respect jurisdiction and we need to respect due process,” said Mauricio Calvo.

    Calvo is the executive director for Latino Memphis. 

    He believes it isn’t the state’s job to enforcement immigration and that’s why he’s supportive of new legislation would require to the state reimburse local governments for any expenses incurred while complying the new law. 


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    Additionally, the proposal would require the state to cover the cost of litigation and potential damages if any local government is sued as a result of the new law.

    “The best outcome is to not have the law. [But] if the state insists of having this law then they should pay for the consequences,” said Calvo.

    Another bill clarifies that police departments don’t have to ask victims or witnesses about their immigration status. It would also exempt health and educational institutions from the current law.

    “When you go for the doctors and when you go to schools you shouldn’t have to be worrying about immigration issues,” said Calvo.

    In a statement to FOX13, Lt. Governor Randy McNally said the following: 

    “Our recently passed sanctuary city law, as well as the one passed in 2009, was designed to prevent cities and counties from selective enforcement of immigration law. All government entities must cooperate in order to secure our borders and maintain the rule of law. I do not support any bill which attempts to do otherwise.”

    Calvo said he’s hopeful these proposals will move forward, but he knows it’ll be an uphill battle. 

    “At least they should open up conversations for legislators to understand the potential consequences of enforcing a law that is illegal,” he said. 

    Last month, the Shelby County Sheriff's Office said it won't detain anyone being released from jail without a warrant or probable cause because the county attorney advised that the new law doesn't apply to them. 

    But it will keep notifying federal authorities when non-citizens are booked.

    Governor Bill Lee’s general counsel is reviewing whether the county is breaking the law by taking this position.

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