When do local Tennessee officials contact immigration officials?

In our last post, we talked about “sanctuary cities,” places where local officials might decline to help federal immigration authorities. Today’s post takes a closer look at the requests that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement authorities might make upon Tennessee officials.


One source of contact involves the local police. An arrest involves a lot of documentation, sometimes referred to as “booking” or “processing.” Included in that paperwork is fingerprinting and a cross-reference against a federal database that verifies an arrestee’s legal status. If local authorities discover that an individual is an undocumented immigrant, federal rules call for that information to be reported to ICE. Regarding the Tennessee Highway Patrol, the 287(g) ICE ACCESS Program specifically calls for cooperation with federal immigration authorities.


Another source of contact involves Tennessee employers, most of whom are subject to federal employment eligibility verification rules. With documents such as a Form I-9, an employer checks the legal status of prospective employees with various qualifying documents, such as a driver’s license, birth certificate and/or passport. If an employer knowingly hires undocumented immigrants, the state might revoke the employer’s business license.

Driving and Voting Rights

Finally, in order to vote or obtain a driver’s license, individuals typically must provide proof of their U.S. citizenship or legal residence. Many other public benefits are also unavailable to undocumented immigrants.

Fortunately, there are other health and emergency services and programs that are an exception to that rule. Our Tennessee immigration law firm has helped hundreds of immigrants, both legal and undocumented, explore their legal options for living and working in the United States without fear of deportation. Check out our firm’s website to learn more.

Source: “Tennessee State Immigration Laws,” copyright 2017, Thomson Reuters