NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Two Nashville mayors and a House speaker became caught up in what amounts to a “sanctuary cities” triangle.
It unfolded this past month in what you could call another Nashville versus the State episode.
The issue flared for a few days in early September during the last week of Mayor David Briley’s dying re-election bid and it burned right up to the state capitol with the new House Speaker Cameron Sexton fanning the flames.
“What we said is that we are a society based on laws,” said Speaker Sexton last month as he took exception to Briley’s Executive Order 11 on immigration.
“You can’t pick or choose whatever one (law) you want to follow and that is what we told Mayor Briley,” added the Republican speaker about the Democrat mayor.
Briley’s order urged repeal of what is commonly called House Bill 2315 — an updated legislative ban last year on “sanctuary cities” in Tennessee, but Briley’s carefully worded directive indicated Metro employees would not be disciplined for failure to comply with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) “unless directed by state or federal law or court order.”
“The good thing is there was an election and John Cooper is the new mayor,” added Speaker Sexton.
Speaker Sexton’s words on Sept. 24 at Memphis station WREG signaled the flames have died down a bit on Tennessee’s sanctuary city debate.
The speaker then spoke for Mayor Cooper.
“He said he is going to make sure Nashville is not a sanctuary city in the State of Tennessee, so we feel like that is a positive move…a move in the right direction and there may be no effect at this time,” said Speaker Sexton.
Shortly after his election on WKRN’s This Week with Bob Mueller, John Cooper chose his words carefully about how he would make a decision concerning Mayor Briley’s executive order on immigration.
He gave two ways of looking at it:
“To some degree, you are little dubious about anything that is in the last week of the campaign that seems like a press release than an executive order,” said Cooper on the program. “But we do need to keep local services such as police for local law enforcement first, then beyond that, you have constitutional rights issues, etc that you will have to look at.”
Then just two days after taking office, the new mayor put his predecessor’s immigration order in the category of a 90-day review.
So what does the new speaker think about the mayor’s “90-day review’ for the controversial immigration order?
We’ll have it later on News 2 and WKRN.com.