TN Immigration Enforcement Bill is Not the Answer

The Tennessee state legislature has passed a bill that would, presumably, crack down on the illegal immigration and the employment of undocumented immigrants in the state, as well as create a “memoranda of understanding” between local law enforcement and federal immigration authorities, so local police will be obliged to cooperate with federal immigration authorities in identifying and securing illegal immigrants.

Why do we need this law? Well, in my opinion, we don’t. Sanctuary cities are already illegal in Tennessee, and law enforcement isn’t excited about entering into a “memorandum of understanding” with federal immigration authorities that, effectively, require them to take on more responsibilities (more pay? you’re kidding, right?) and place them at risk of racial profiling and taking away time and resources from their local duties.

So, why was this bill introduced and passed? Well, politics. It makes politicians and their base think they’re doing something constructive about immigration.

This bill is not the solution.

The recent raid at Bean Station put in view for all the human side of illegal immigration. It’s not just the “illegal” side that needs to be considered. These immigrants are human beings, with lives, families, jobs and communities that benefit from their presence. Whether we like to admit it or not, our communities rely on them, the work the do and the financial contributions they make. No one is arguing that violent criminals or felons should not be subject to incarceration and deportation. But, people who are here, going about their business, not causing trouble, working and raising their families and making this state a better place ought not have the rug pulled out from under them after the government, let’s face it, gave them every reason to think that they would be safe here.

So, what is the solution? How about Congress do its job and find a permanent solution for hard-working, non-criminal immigrants who want nothing more than the opportunity to create a better life for themselves in the country they’ve called home for years?

Bishop Richard Stika is the bishop of Knoxville. You can read his opinion column in the Knoxville News Sentinel on the matter here.

You can email Governor Haslam here.

Be Christ for all. Bring Christ to all. See Christ in all.


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