CAIR Coalition condemns the new Tennessee legislation, HB 2124, requiring state law enforcement agencies to actively aid federal immigration authorities if they discover someone in the country without legal status. Signed on April 11th by Governor Bill Lee, the bill would require, rather than only authorize, local law enforcement to disclose a person’s immigration status to federal agencies and cooperate with federal officials in the identification, apprehension, detention, and deportation of noncitizens.

Taking effect July 1, 2024, this law will exacerbate racial profiling and discrimination, increase detention and deportation of immigrants, separate families, and devastate communities.

Tennessee legislators passed the bill over the objections of immigrant advocates and community leaders, as well as local law enforcement officials who were concerned that the law would mean that victims of crime would be unwilling to come forward. Even a provision that would have exempted survivors of domestic violence from the reporting requirements was struck from the final version of the bill.

Tennessee joins a concerning number of states that have passed legislation requiring local law enforcement—from the school resource officer to the town sheriff—to actively aid in the identification, apprehension, detention, and deportation of immigrants.

“These laws only add to the real problems of our dysfunctional and unjust immigration system,” said Kathy Doan, CAIR Coalition’s Chief Executive Officer. “They will only serve to further terrorize immigrant communities that are already over-policed and fuel the anti-immigrant rhetoric that continues to rise.”

As an organization committed to fighting for a humane and just immigration system, we urge lawmakers to pursue solutions that will create pathways to legal status, protect all people seeking safety, and keep communities together.