New Illegal Immigration Bill May Add To Sheriff's Burden

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A bill recently passed by the Tennessee General Assembly may add to the burden of the Cannon County Sheriff's Department and, by extension, the taxpayers of Cannon County if signed into law by Governor Phil Bredesen.

The proposed law requires Tennessee jailers to determine whether inmates are in the country illegally.

It would require jailers to provide information if a person's citizenship status cannot be determined from documents in the individual's possession when arrested or if the person is illegally in the country.

Tennessee jails would send the information to the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement office (ICE). The bill, Senate Bill 1141, sponsored by Senator Dolores Gresham (R-Somerville), requires the jail keeper to fax, email or send a copy of the booking information.

"This legislation simply makes sure that ICE and Homeland Security are informed regarding anyone who has been booked into Tennessee jails who are in the U.S. illegally," said Senator Gresham. "I am very pleased this bill has been approved."

Cannon County Sheriff Billy Nichols said he is not opposed to his department performing the requirements set forth in the bill, he is only concerned that it may cost taxpayers extra money if it is signed into law.

"They (state lawmakers) create these laws but they don't give us any funds to enforce them," Nichols said. "The burden then falls on the taxpayers of the individual counties."

Nichols said his department has handled only a small number (four to five) of illegal immigrants the past few years, so processing them through the system has not been a problem. He said if Bredesen signs the bill into law the department may need to hire additional workers to process the additional paperwork and purchase new computers and software.

The legislation calls for statewide standards to be developed by the POST (Police Officers Standard Training) Commission. This provision helps to ensure that Tennessee will not be open to lawsuits that have been problematic in other localities with similar laws.

The bill does not apply to any county or municipality that enters into a memorandum of understanding with the United States Department of Homeland Security or ICE concerning enforcement of federal immigration laws, which has more stringent standards.

If signed by the governor, the new law will go into effect Jan. 1, 2011.
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Members Opinions:
June 16, 2010 at 7:55am
how much more work is it to verify someones legal status? you mean a jailer has to actually use a fax machine or computer to check and see if a person is in our country ILLEGALLY? do you really need to hire more personnel to do a five minute job? when you go to get a library card do they not ask you for a valid TN drivers license? what about a loan from the bank? why should it be different when you go to jail? should you not have to prove who you are and if you should be here or not? As far as racial profiling can this really be done at the point of incarceration, isn't the jailer just doing his job to find out who the people really are? The liberal left just want these illegals for votes and they are willing to overlook the fact that they came here illegally. study up on the United States law pertaining to illegal immigration, you will see that it mirrors Arizona's law.
June 16, 2010 at 9:45am
Gee Jack I guess that left thinks that it is unreasonable to check for outstanding warrants as well?

How is it racial profiling? The person has already been arrested. Verifying the person's identity is a bad thing?
June 17, 2010 at 6:15am
SmilinJack says "I will bet $100 if I were arrested and taken to jail, no one would ask me for documents that verified my citizenship but if my skin were a little different color and my name was Jose Gracia, I would be asked for those papers"

If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck......Ya think? Heres your sign! Go to mexico and try what they do here!
June 17, 2010 at 6:47am
You cannot enter any other country in the world except the United States without a valid I.D. or passport or you will be arrested or detained until you can prove who you are and where you came from.

Anytime you are pulled over for speeding, running a traffic light, stop sign ect. you are asked for your drivers license and if you do not have it you can be arrested.

The law passed in Arizona is not a new law. The law passed in Arizona simlpy says that the Arizona law enforcement has the authority to detain someone who cannot prove their identity or status as an American citizen and they will turn them over to the Federal Government agency that is responsible for making that determination.

The United States already has immigration laws that are much more stringent than this current law Arizona passed. The difference is Arizona chooses to ENFORCE the laws and our U.S. Government does not.

Everything is not racial, everything is not profiling and everything is not discrimination as much as most of you liberal crybabies want it to be.

You all scream you want protection until someone decides to do it and then you all contact the AFLCIO. If you don't like it, move to Mexico.
June 18, 2010 at 5:22pm
The headline of this well written article by Kevin Halpern is titled: "New Illegal Immigration Bill May Add To Sheriff's Burden"

I'll look back to the last great Democrat to help me register my opinion on this issue. Mister President... if you would, please.

“Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, in order to assure the survival and the success of liberty.” ~ John F. Kennedy, Inaugural Address, 20 JAN 61

Jim Boyd
6th Tennessee House District
United States Congress
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