NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WZTV) — Tension has been brewing in Nashville ever since immigrant supporters created a human chain around a man who ICE agents tried confronting. Now, Mayor David Briley saying he’s signing an executive order making it clear what Metro departments will and won’t do when requested by ICE agents.
“When people that live in the city are afraid to interact with Metro Police, it makes it harder to save crime. It makes everyone less safe,” said Councilman Bob Mendes.
Recently, councilmembers called for an audit after learning probation officers – some who are city employees - were allegedly working with ICE, sharing location and contact information of illegal immigrants with them.
“It is creating a lot of unease throughout the immigrant community. Both people that have documentation and don't have documentation, they are concerned about racial profiling,” said Councilman Fabian Bedne.
Briley – who recently released a video in Spanish telling immigrant families to know their rights if approached by ICE agents, says the executive order will outline procedures and processes that Metro departments will follow if ICE agents ask for their help. His opponent for mayor, Councilman John Cooper, also weighing in during a recent appearance on FOX 17 News’ Nashville in Focus.
“Our policy should be don’t federalize our local police. Don’t have our local police do jobs for the federal government, particularly if ICE is serving a non-judicial warrant similar to IRS or EPA,” said Cooper.
Mayor Briley calls this move good for Nashville but not everyone agrees. Conservative commentator Ralph Bristol who ran against Briley in the special election, says this is bad for the city.
“Whether the federal law enforcement efforts are making life difficult for the people in Nashville, it's not for us to say and frankly, if we want to comply with the US Constitution, it's not for City Council or Mayor to say,” said Bristol.
Bristol says he’s started a group called the Club for Responsible Independence. This group is focused on the rights of citizens and upholding the constitution. He says they will request a meeting with the mayor and federal leaders to discuss what’s happening in the city.
While Bristol and his organization disagree with the Mayor’s steps, immigrants like Ali Nooraddian agree. Nooraddian is a Muslim leader in the city. He says breaking up families is never OK.
“We don't need families separated. They have kids who were born here who are citizens. The baby boy or girl will be separated from their parents. They will hurt,” said Nooraddian.
He says some in the immigrant community are nervous, scared and afraid of what might happen to them.