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WSMV Channel 4

NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) – A statewide organization is speaking out against what they call a proposed “sanctuary city policy” by the Nashville Metro Council.

The proposed ordinance recently passed its second reading and will come up for a third reading at next month’s Metro Council meeting. If it passes the third reading, it will become law.

The term “sanctuary city” is not mentioned in the language of Metro’s bill. However, it would align the city’s immigration policies with other so-called sanctuary cities.

The local group Latinos for Tennessee says the ordinance ignores federal law.

Tommy Vallejos is chairman of Latinos for Tennessee. He’s also a strong supporter of Pres. Donald Trump’s immigration policies.

“This policy was to enforce security on our borders and strengthen the arm of our ICE agents,” said Vallejos. “Now we have authorities that are going against the grain, and trying to put a policy into place, which goes against the safety of our community.”

The ordinance was approved by the Metro Council on second reading Tuesday. Twenty-five voted in favor, with eight voting against and four abstaining.

It would prohibit assistance to Immigration and Customs Enforcement. The goal is to prevent ICE officers from taking custody of people with the help of Nashville Metro police.

“I’m concerned this policy will tie the hands of our law enforcement,” said Vallejos. “If you’re here illegally in this country and you’re here to do harm to our citizens, this policy simply protects them.

The Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition are among the local organizations in favor of the new ordinance.

We reached out to the Coalition for comment on this story but did not hear back.

Councilman Fabian Bedne is co-sponsor of the legislation. In an e-mail, Bedne said there is nothing in the new ordinance that makes Nashville a “sanctuary city” — and that it requires Metro to follow all federal and state laws.

Proponents say the city needs this legislation it encourages businesses and people to move and invest here. The third reading of the proposed ordinance is scheduled for July 6.

We’ll continue to follow this developing story.

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