New state law requires police to contact federal agents if they come across an illegal immigrant

NASHVILLE, TN - A new law has been passed in the state of Tennessee requiring local police departments and the state police to contact federal agents if they come across someone who has entered the United States illegally.

According to Fox 17, the newly passed law is already creating controversy between its supporters and its critics, which mainly stems from the way the law may be enforced, if at all. On X, Fox 17 posted a question to its followers asking, "Do you agree police should let federal authorities know when they come across someone who is undocumented." Based off the responses, an overwhelming 85.8% said yes and only 14.2% said no. This was based off 558 votes in total.

The new law requires law enforcement to tell federal immigration authorities if and when they come across illegal immigrants, making something that was once at their discretion, now a requirement, which also may mean that if an undocumented person gets pulled over for a traffic stop, they might be deported.

While immigration advocates are concerned about racial profiling, Senator Mark Pody went on record saying that the new law is the right thing to do for the safety of all.

Hannah Smalley, the advocacy and education coordinator of Tennessee Justice for Our Neighbors, said in a statement, "Our concern with this law is that it is going to create a lot of fear in the immigrant community. It is something we are already seeing." The new law is not just targeted towards those illegal immigrants who have recently crossed into the country, but includes people who have been here for years.

Pody said that this new law is all about safety, adding, "We've been seeing more and more cases where people are actually being assaulted and some people even being killed by those undocumented individuals." Immigration advocates said that the language of the law is too broad and that it clearly targets immigrant families. Smalley said, "I think it is going to discourage people from reporting crimes. I think it increases the risk of profiling."

Pody said in a statement, "We're not trying to target anybody. We're trying to say that for every single person that is here, we want them to work on their legal citizenship, to do it through the proper channels." He also said that there is an amendment to the bill that protects a victim or a witness to a crime, adding, "They would be totally exempt from this."

In a statement, Metro Police said, in part, "Immigration enforcement remains solely a function of federal law enforcement and the Metropolitan Nashville Police Department has no authority to investigate or enforce immigration laws. We expect to have no role in that activity." The department also said that they will not question someone's immigration status during routine duties, except for "U-Visas matters."

The mayor's office has yet to comment if they are on board with the new law or if they plan to work with the Metro Police to enforce it. They did, however, provide a statement that says, in part, "Our priority is the safety of all neighborhoods and all Nashvillians. The policies and practices of MNPD are not impacted by the new law and the community should notice no difference in how MNPD conducts their work in the community."
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