Immigration bill vote delayed by council members

Earlier this year, Ozment Law filed a lawsuit against the Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County, alleging that detention of suspected noncitizens by the Davidson County Sheriff violates the law and detainees’ constitutional rights. At the same time, two bills (sponsored by Councilmen Bob Mendes and Colby Sledge, among others) are pending in the Metro Council that would provide accountability to the Nashville sheriff when he attempts to detain people he suspects are immigrants.

On Tuesday, the Metro Law Director abruptly issued a brief opinion alleging that the bills would not be valid, because they cannot stop the sheriff from “cooperating” with ICE officials.

Aware that Metro Legal’s interpretation of the law would affect the Metro ordinances and many of our clients, Ozment Law immediately analyzed the law director’s opinion, and Elliott Ozment appeared on WZTV Fox 17 News on Wednesday morning to discuss both Ozment Law’s lawsuit against the sheriff and the legal director’s opinion on the pair of bills (which together are sometimes referred to as the “Nashville Together” ordinance).

We believe that ICE should get a warrant – signed by a judge based on probable cause – before the sheriff should commit Metro resources to detaining any immigrant. Ozment Law will continue to advocate for Middle Tennessee’s immigrant community – in and out of court.

“The sheriff does not own the jail,” Elliott Ozment said in the Fox 17 interview Wednesday. “The sheriff is the manager of the jail. Now he says, ‘I don’t need a contract. I can do with this jail anything I want to do.’ And I think that’s unreasonable on its face.”


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