Republicans unveil bills package to combat illegal immigration

Wednesday, February 16, 2011 at 5:18pm

Republican state lawmakers unveiled their package of bills to combat illegal immigration Wednesday, including an Arizona-style crackdown giving police unprecedented new authority to question and detain suspects.

The ACLU immediately vowed to sue to overturn that bill if it becomes law, saying it would spur racial discrimination. Business interests also expressed reservations about the bills.

“This is a monster bill,” ACLU-Tennessee Executive Director Hedy Weinberg said of the legislation modeled after Arizona’s controversial law. “It invites racial profiling. It is not deserving of the people of Tennessee. … It’s very troubling that our legislators choose to move in this way. ACLU will be prepared to file a lawsuit were this bill to pass the way it’s drafted today.”

Under the bill, police must have other grounds for stopping someone — say, for a traffic violation — but then they may inquire about that person’s immigration status if they have a “reasonable suspicion” that person is here illegally. It requires immigrants to prove that they are authorized to be in the country or risk state charges.

The grounds for reasonable suspicion are not spelled out in the bill, and Weinberg asked: “Would that be the color of one’s skin, the accent of the individual when they question him or her? This is an unacceptable bill. It certainly should not pass in Tennessee.”

The legislation would repeal a 33-year-old state law that gave collective bargaining rights to teachers.

Last July, a federal judge blocked the most controversial parts of the Arizona law from taking effect. The judge agreed with the Obama administration that it interferes with federal authority over immigration and could lead to harassment of citizens and legal immigrants.

Arizona reportedly suffered $100 million in tourism losses after enacting its law. But the Tennessee bill’s sponsor —Sen. Bill Ketron, R-Murfreesboro — insisted that wouldn’t happen here.

“I think people are going to see Tennessee as that shining state on a hill and want to move here because we’re doing the right things about being American,” Ketron said.

Republicans backed two other immigration bills at a news conference — one to require businesses to use the federal government’s Internet-based E-Verify system of determining whether employees are in the country legally, and another to try to ensure that government benefit programs are denied to illegal immigrants.

“They come here for the jobs, the illegals. We understand that. But they stay for the benefits. We think we’ve got a comprehensive solution for a Tennessee problem,” said Rep. Joe Carr, R-Lascassas.

Bradley Jackson, lobbyist for the Tennessee Chamber of Commerce and Industry, criticized the E-Verify system as “a government mandate, no matter how you slice it, period. It’s an additional burden on business.”

21 Comments on this post:

By: Wompcat on 2/16/11 at 4:29

Get it done NOW.

By: yogiman on 2/16/11 at 5:38

Get what done? Enact the bill, or stop it in favor of the ACL(D)U?

By: ghost7638ghost7... on 2/16/11 at 6:26

Hedy Weinberg needs to be flushed down the toliet like the crap she is.

By: spooky24 on 2/17/11 at 6:56

Go for it. Get rid of them all.

Never mind the ALCU American Criminal Lovers Union


By: treehugger7 on 2/17/11 at 7:13

Ghost--you have no manners. Ad hominem arguments are used when there is no real argument to mount. Hedy Weinberg has fought the GOOD fight for more than twenty years, I think. Contrary to some posts on this website, most thinking people feel that there are some basic human rights, and she fights for them. Thank you, Ms. Weinberg!

By: Community-carl-... on 2/17/11 at 7:55

I am so tired of the ACLU protecting the rights of criminals at the expense of the hard-working, honest , and law-abiding people. This latest bill being put forth by Republicans is to protect the law-abiding citizens. Anybody who is here in the US legally has nothing to fear. Those who are here illegally need to get the hell out.

Please note that I have nothing against LEGAL fact I welcome them.

By: foxman on 2/17/11 at 9:00

Hedy Weinberg is a troll & nothing more than a common law breaker. Off with her head!!!!!!!!!!!!

By: Antisocialite on 2/17/11 at 10:20

Community-carl said:
Please note that I have nothing against LEGAL fact I welcome them.

You sure have a funny way of showing it. You do realize that the whole reason the ACLU is taking this to court is because of the threat that the unclear language in the bill poses to those 'LEGAL immigrants' that you claim to welcome, don't you? As much as you people seem to hate the ACLU I encourage you to actually learn what it is that they do, and no it isn't 'protecting criminals.'

It's easy to see where one might get that impression though if the only news they are exposed to is FOX, Limbaugh, Savage, Coulter, Malkin, and the host of other talking heads out there, ready with the talking points handed to them... seriously LISTEN to the words that are being used, and you will find that they are usually repeated verbatim by commentators and anchors on several different networks and other news outlets at virtually the exact same time. This is a pretty strong indication that it is a talking point, and most likely false or at the very least misleading. Oh, and for the record both sides do this, but the Republicans are much more adept.

When used politically in this way, the typical purpose of a talking point is to propagandize, specifically using the technique of argumentum ad nauseam, i.e. continuous repetition within media outlets until accepted as fact.

And that, my friends, is how the right wing news machine is able to dominate debate, even on so-called 'liberal media.'

By: tenn40 on 2/17/11 at 10:33

Hedy Weinberg's politics are to the extreme left. Of course she will sue. Doesn't matter. Something needs to be done to keep illegals from sucking away precious resources from ordinary Tennessee taxpayers. Also, folks should be held accountable for knowingly hiring illegals. I fully support the efforts of our Tennessee legislature to pass laws of this type being considered.

By: helloo people w... on 2/17/11 at 11:07

For those people who fear racial profiling, they must be guility of something otherwise what could be the problem. As far as human rights, we all have them!! ALL illegals in the United States need to be sent back to the country from wence they came and should be at the expense of their country not ours.

By: zmania on 2/17/11 at 11:40

I'm so tired of thids left / right crap. Tennessee needs to wake up and stop this bickering.

These politicians need to start representing the people instead of where they're getting campain money from by going after these businesses who hire illegal immigrants. Its a no-brainer. If there are no jobs, they will not come.

Why subject the police to racial profiling. and we all know it will happen. Metro hasn't exactly been a model police with all these assaults and discipline problems hanging over their heads. They really need to work on their people skills, especially when dealing with different ethnic groups.

By: Funditto on 2/17/11 at 11:44

Who's gonna raise their kids, clean their houses and mow their lawns?

By: Community-carl-... on 2/17/11 at 2:47

Antisocialite at 10:20 apparently presumes he/she can read my mind and challenges my note that "I have nothing against LEGAL immigrants and in fact, welcome them." Well, I guess you are adamently against anti-terrorist airport screenings also. Let me remind you that sometimes we have to put up with certain minor inconveniences for the greater good (security, well being, etc.) of everyone.
I welcome and respect any and all persons who are legal citizens attempting to lead productive and self-sustaining lives here in the U.S.

This country is on the verge of bankruptcy, and we are overrun with illegal immigrants who are sucking our entitlement programs dry; also our job market. We need to focus on protecting and supporting the legal citizens, not coddling the illegals.

By: GUARDIAN on 2/17/11 at 9:13

GUARDIAN-Kick them out of Tennessee. ALL of them.

By: wataboutbob on 2/18/11 at 8:15

The fact that the ACLU is against the bills tells me they are the right thing to do for Tennessee and America.

By: Antisocialite on 2/18/11 at 10:09

Community-carl said:
Antisocialite at 10:20 apparently presumes he/she can read my mind and challenges my note that "I have nothing against LEGAL immigrants and in fact, welcome them." Well, I guess you are adamently (sic) against anti-terrorist airport screenings also. Let me remind you that sometimes we have to put up with certain minor inconveniences for the greater good (security, well being, etc.) of everyone.

Nowhere did I imply that I could read your mind. I only said that you had a funny way of showing your welcoming nature to legal immigrants if you thought that implementing a law that implicitly encourages racial profiling was a good idea.

As for the rest of your comment, a certain quote comes to mind:

Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety. - Ben Franklin

You are right I am 100% the 'anti-terrorist' checkpoints at the airport, and if you consider yourself a 'small government conservative' you should be as well. You know that after 9/11 the creation of the Department of Homeland Security, which houses TSA, was the largest expansion of federal government in 50 years right? And for what? To prevent a threat that is so minuscule that your odds of getting struck by lightning are an order of magnitude higher? The 'lessons' from 9/11 were implemented when they reinforced cockpit doors, the rest is security theater.

By: frodo on 2/18/11 at 10:30

I'd like to propose that we grant amnesty to all Nashvillians who commit crimes. Statistics show that crimes are committed disproportionally by a certain race. Therefore, enforcing the law simply invites racial profiling. Amnesty for all. Let anarchy reign! Reminds me of when I was in first grade, and the boys were repeatedly disorderly in the restroom. A made the boys, and only the boys, go one at a time. It was a clear case of gender profiling. Get ACLU on the phone, because I want justice!

By: GUARDIAN on 2/18/11 at 3:48

GUARDIAN-Kick the ACLU out of the state with the illegals. OR give the names and home addresses of all ACLU members in Tennessee so the people can contact them personally to talk things over. :)

By: Community-carl-... on 2/18/11 at 4:02

Antisocialite at 10:20 has gone and got on my last nerve.......... I am proud of the fact that I respect the laws of our land and want them enforced rather than overlooked as is the frequent case with illegal immigrants. Anyone here legally has nothing to fear. And I believe that if statistical facts indicate that persons with certain characteristics are much more likely to engage in specific crimminal activities, then,
by all means they should be more closely watched/checked/monitored.

Antisicialite, I would submit that people like you, who are so hung-up on individual, personal rights (at the peril, risk, and expense of the rest of us) are slowly, but surely destroying the very foundations of the United States. I wonder how you would feel if someone very important and dear to you was tortured and murdered by some thug who had a rap sheet with dozens of offenses on it over a period of many years, and who was out on probation when he/she murdered your loved one.......I wonder how your bleeding heart would feel then..........I am weary of people like you who coddle illegal immigrants, career criminals, and other unproductive and lazy people who are parasites and/or predators on the rest of us who are struggling to stay afloat while our hard earned resources are taken from us and given to those who do not deserve them.

By: shoes1 on 2/18/11 at 5:34

I agree we should all safeguard individual freedom.... but please tell me what is so different between asking someone their legal residence and asking someone their legal age to buy alcoholic beverages? Store clerks manage to enforce the law without infringing on civil liberties. Additionally a police officer who pulls a violator over for one violation almost always checks for others.... As they well should. Please people. It seems a greater crime to allow immigration laws which are already on the books.... to go unenforced.... to the continued determent of lawful society. For the record. Police officers should be above profiling and dealt with harshly when not.

By: sb1070 on 2/22/11 at 9:56

Action alert.

Tennessee immigration-enforcement legislation.

This affects and will affect your life.

We have several good immigration-enforcement bills filed in Tennessee. To get these passed, grass-roots action is needed immediately.

Three recently filed pairs of bills look especially good toward the objective of demagnetizing Tennessee to illegal immigration. I ask that Tennesseans immediately contact their state representative and state senator and tell them to co-sponsor and pass these bills.

Tennessee bills are filed as a pair, one in the state House and an identical one in the state Senate. They may be amended in either or both chambers.

We are concerned about fiscal notes that will be placed on the bills. Fiscal notes concern the costs of implementing a bill if it became law. The notes will not factor in the costs of illegal immigration and how much the state/we could save by demagnetizing to illegal immigration.

The bills:

HB1378 (sponsor, state Rep. Joe Carr) -- SB1669 (sponsor, state Sen. Jim Tracy) -- the Tennessee Lawful Employment Act, to require that all employers use the federal E-Verify system in hiring

HB1379 (sponsor, Rep. Joe Carr) -- SB1325 (sponsor, Sen. Jack Johnson) -- the Eligibility Verification for Entitlements Act, to require use of the SAVE system to verify eligibility (including lawful status, as applicable) for public benefits and services

HB1380 (sponsor, Rep. Joe Carr) -- SB0780 (sponsor, Sen. Bill Ketron) -- the Lawful Immigration Enforcement Act, pertaining to law enforcement officers and immigration-law enforcement

The Heritage Foundation discovered that households headed by low-educated foreign workers, legal and illegal, typically receive three dollars in government benefits and services for each dollar of taxes they pay -- with most of the net cost borne by state and local governments. Given our current budget problems, taxpayers should not have to underwrite public services for illegal aliens.

A recent study by Northeastern University found that illegal aliens are gaining jobs while Americans are losing them. Many of these jobs are in construction. I have particular interest in the construction jobs because my father was an ironworker.

Many people are under the impression that Tennessee does not have a serious problem with illegal immigration. The truth is, for the past 15 years, illegal aliens have been flooding into the South. Any official estimate you hear is a big undercount. We saw this when I lived in Georgia and some of us began doing our own count, based on births in which Emergency Alien Medicaid (for illegal-alien mothers) was called down.

Many illegal aliens have left California and other states to come to the South. It is said that Georgia has as many illegal aliens as Arizona has. North Carolina has many as well. As the states around us demagnetize, illegal aliens are leaving those states for jobs and easier passage in Tennessee. We must act as well.

Find contact information for your state representative and state senator here:

Call their offices, and e-mail. You can leave your message with a staffer. Please include all the bill numbers above when you contact them. Include the HB and SB prefixes. And please contact the House and Senate leaders, particularly:

It's showtime. There is no elite. Take your place in the driver's seat.

Thank you. You may copy or forward this e-mail to your lists.