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File #: BL2022-1115    Name:
Type: Bill (Ordinance) Status: Second Reading
File created: 2/8/2022 In control: Metropolitan Council
On agenda: 7/19/2022 Final action:
Title: An ordinance amending Section 13.08.080 of the Metropolitan Code of Laws pertaining to the use of License Plate Scanner (LPR) technology to exclude assisting with immigration enforcement as an allowed use of LPRs.
Sponsors: Bob Mendes, Dave Rosenberg, Burkley Allen, Ginny Welsch, Zulfat Suara, Tom Cash, Sean Parker, Emily Benedict

title

An ordinance amending Section 13.08.080 of the Metropolitan Code of Laws pertaining to the use of License Plate Scanner (LPR) technology to exclude assisting with immigration enforcement as an allowed use of LPRs.

 

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WHEREAS, the current LPR law is silent about whether Metro’s LPRs can be used to assist with federal immigration enforcement; and

 

WHEREAS, Chief of Police John C. Drake and Director Diana Alarcon of the Nashville Department of Transportation wrote a letter to Vice Mayor Jim Shulman dated January 31, 2022, stating in part that “LPR information will NOT be shared with ICE for any type of immigration enforcement”; and

 

WHEREAS, this commitment by Chief Drake and Director Alarcon to not use Metro’s LPRs for immigration enforcement is important to the public welfare of the city of Nashville and should be incorporated into Metro’s LPR law.

 

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT ENACTED BY THE COUNCIL OF THE METROPOLITAN GOVERNMENT OF NASHVILLE AND DAVIDSON COUNTY:

 

Section 1. Part G(1)(a)(ii) of Section 13.08.080 is hereby amended by adding a new subpart (6) as follows:

 

(6)                     to assist any federal official in the identification, apprehension, detention, or removal of any person in connection with the immigration laws of the United States.

 

Section 2. Part G(13) of Section 13.08.080 is hereby amended by adding to the end of the part as follows:

 

Notwithstanding anything to the contrary in this Section, the Metropolitan Government shall not in any way use, upload, or refer to a hot list that is related to federal immigration enforcement including without limitation any hot list provided or generated by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement or any hot list that includes data provided or generated by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

 

Section 3. This ordinance shall take effect from and after its enactment, the welfare of The Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County requiring it.

Agenda Analysis

Analysis

 

**This ordinance, if enacted, will violate state law: Title 7, Chapter 68, Part 101, et seq., of the Tennessee Code Annotated (the “Act”).**

 

A court will likely find that this ordinance violates the Act-which prohibits a local governmental entity from adopting a “sanctuary policy”-because the ordinance would prohibit a department from using the LPR system/information to assist federal officials with immigration compliance. Section 1 of the ordinance explicitly contravenes the Act. The Act provides that “No local governmental entity or official shall adopt or enact a sanctuary policy.” A “sanctuary policy” is defined as one that, among other things, “limits or prohibits any local governmental entity or official from communicating or cooperating with federal agencies or officials to verify or report the immigration status of any alien.” Section 1, as proposed, would be an express adoption of a sanctuary policy as defined by the Act because it proposes to prohibit any department within the Metropolitan Government from utilizing the LPR system or collected information to cooperate with federal officials in connection with immigration laws of the United States.

 

Section 2 of the proposed ordinance prohibits the Metropolitan Government from utilizing, in conjunction with LPR, a “hot list” that is related to federal immigration enforcement, including lists created by, provided by, or containing information from ICE. While Section 2 of the proposed ordinance is not as explicit in its contravention of the Act, it is outside the spirit of the Act’s goals of encouraging expansive cooperation with federal officials regarding immigration laws. It is less likely that a court would find that Section 2 of the proposed ordinance violates the Act.

 

If enacted, the Metropolitan Government will be ineligible to enter into any grant contract with the state department of economic and community development until the policy is repealed. Further, state law authorizes residents to bring a complaint in Chancery Court alleging that the ordinance violates the Act. If a court determines that the Metropolitan Council has adopted a sanctuary policy, it can order that the Metropolitan Government comply with the Act, enjoin the Metropolitan Government from further interference with the Act, and take other necessary action to ensure compliance.