General Assembly approves legislation calling for jails to send information regarding prisoners who are in the U.S. illegally to ICE

Contact:  Darlene Schlicher (615) 741-6336 or email:  [email protected]

(NASHVILLE, TN), June 9, 2010 – The Senate and House have approved a conference committee report and sent to the governor legislation calling for Tennessee jails to send information to the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement office (ICE) regarding prisoners who do not have documentation that they are in the U.S. legally.  The bill, Senate Bill 1141, sponsored by Senator Dolores Gresham (R-Somerville), requires the jail keeper to fax, email or send a copy of the booking information.

 “This legislation simply makes sure that ICE and Homeland Security are informed regarding anyone who has been booked into Tennessee jails who are in the U.S. illegally,” said Senator Gresham.  “I am very pleased this bill has been approved.”

Lawmakers worked out differences in the bill in a conference committee earlier today.  The House adopted the conference committee plan and approved the bill by a vote of 56 to 30.  The Senate then took up the matter, passing it by a vote of 24 to 7.

The legislation calls for statewide standards to be developed by the POST (Police Officers Standard Training) Commission.  This provision helps to ensure that Tennessee will not be open to lawsuits that have been problematic in other localities with similar laws.  The bill does not apply to any county or municipality that enters into a memorandum of understanding with the United States Department of Homeland Security or ICE concerning enforcement of federal immigration laws, which has more stringent standards.

“All counties should provide this information to protect our citizens,” said Gresham, who is a retired Lt. Colonel in the U.S. Marines.  “It is a matter of national security that must be addressed.”

The General Assembly is expected to work late into the evening to try to conclude the business of the 2010 legislative session. 

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