Nashville Considers Ways to Sidestep State’s Anti-Sanctuary Laws

When metro Nashville voters go to the polls on Election Day, they will decide whether to establish a “Community Oversight Board.” This proposal known as “Amendment #1” creates an unelected and unaccountable community activist board with broad disciplinary authority over the Metro Nashville Police Department.

This board will consist of 11 residents of Davidson County that serve a three-year term. Community organizations or private petitioners must nominate seven out of the 11 board members (including four from economically distressed areas) which then are approved by the Metro Council. (See Amendment 1) This amendment, as designed and written, would give excessive influence to unaccountable advocacy organizations and their policy agendas, which includes mass immigration.  It will allow groups like Tennessee Immigration and Refugee Rights Coalition and The American Muslim Advisory Council to refashion police department objectives.  Moreover, several of the community organizations supporting this amendment are the very same groups that campaigned against strengthening Tennessee’s anti-sanctuary law this year.

According to the amendment, the members seeking to serve on the community board must have “a demonstrated knowledge” relating to civil rights as well as experience with criminal justice and policing practices. The board is to receive training – through either the Metropolitan Nashville’s Citizen Police Academy or an “equivalent training.”  However, the amendment voters will consider does not delineate what “demonstrated knowledge” is needed, nor does it define “equivalent training.”  The way the language is drafted opens the door to so-called “civil rights groups,” with political agendas like the Southern Poverty Law Center, to provide the training and dictate standards for the community oversight board.

In addition to not clearly delineating the knowledge and training required to serve on the board, the amendment does not clearly exclude those residing illegally in metro Nashville. Ira Mehlman, FAIR’s Media Director, said, it is “highly objectionable that people whose very presence in the community is a violation of the law would be in a position to make recommendations about oversight over a law enforcement department.”

It is not surprising that this proposal is under consideration in metro Nashville as a means to protect illegal aliens and skirt Tennessee’s anti-sanctuary laws.  Despite being an anti-sanctuary state, the Metro Council tried to pass two ordinances in 2017 that would have circumvented the state law and make metro Nashville the most radical sanctuary city in the U.S. – even more so than either San Francisco or New York City. Opposition by 70 state legislators to  the ordinances and an opinion by Metro Director of Law Jon Cooper caused Metro Council Members Bob Mendes and Colby Sledge to withdraw their amendment.  However, they stated that they planned to “work through other channels to accomplish their goals.”

When the legislature convened in 2018, it worked quickly to add teeth to its anti-sanctuary law affirming its intent to prevent localities like Nashville from protecting illegal aliens. If this amendment passes in November, the community board could attempt to side-step the state’s new anti-sanctuary law.

Even if the amendment fails to garner enough votes in November, it could still happen.  Nashville Mayor David Briley has suggested that he would defy the will of the voters and create the oversight board through an executive order.

About Author


Shari Rendall brings to the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) over 15 years of experience in government relations and grassroots advocacy. In her former position, Shari led the legislation department in coordinating lobbying efforts on Capitol Hill and briefing congressional and administration staff on a wide range of issues. She has also been responsible for grassroots communications and helping state associations devise their legislative strategies. She began her time in D.C. working on Capitol Hill in the office of former Sen. Bob Smith (R-New Hampshire) as a Legislative Aide.


  1. avatar

    I left Texas for Nashville because I was worn out with the illegal immigrant invasion there. I really like Nashville but would probably move to get away from a sanctuary city. I know you think you have plenty of people coming in daily but you need to consider meeting their needs not the needs of criminals.

  2. avatar

    I figured it would be long after states ignoring federal law, that cities and towns would begin to ignore State laws. How long before citizens decide the law is meaningless?

  3. avatar

    China is an OVERPOPULATED Hades Hole

    Even Hollywood back drop movies of Beijing prove this fact…they destroy the environment and the Open Border Part applauds? HYPOCRITES. We need clean coal in America, not MASS cheap dirty coal contaminating the Earth from China [I read recently 1/2 of LA’s air pollution comes from China].

  4. avatar

    A good new documentary about the border and drugs crisis can be viewed at NotInVeinUSA dot com.

  5. avatar

    The most honest statement ever made by the other side: “work through other channels to achieve their goal”. The law be damned. By hook or by crook they will get what they want. Starting with the 1965 immigration act when Ted Kennedy promised that “a million immigrants a year will not flood our cities” and the “ethnic makeup of the country will not change”. Of course, now that both those things have occurred, as the critics predicted, it’s racist to point it out.

    Or the 1986 “one time” amnesty that included solemn promises that there would never be another and it would only involve about 1 and a half million people, and the end number was three million. Ask Schumer. He was there and led the effort in the House. What happened Chuckie? Slip you mind, or was it simply another of your lies to keep this invasion going.

    And invasion it is. We are being overwhelmed by other countries. And they don’t even have to fight us. Our political establishment has put out the welcome mat. How about that Elizabeth Warren. She says her claims have been proven, but the only thing proven was that under no circumstances could she have remotely been considered a “person of color” or native American. She passed herself off as such and took a spot that should have gone to a real minority. Trump was right, not her.

  6. avatar

    From the US-China Economic and Security Review Commission:

    Fentanyl: China’s Deadly Export to the United States

    Wednesday, February 1, 2017

    –“According to U.S. law enforcement and drug investigators, China is the primary source of fentanyl in the United States. Along with shipments sent directly to the United States, fentanyl is shipped from China to Mexico and, to a lesser degree, Canada, before being trafficked across the U.S. border.

    China is a global source of fentanyl and other illicit substances because the country’s vast chemical and pharmaceutical industries are weakly regulated and poorly monitored. Chinese law enforcement officials have struggled to adequately regulate the thousands of chemical and pharmaceutical facilities operating legally and illegally in the country, leading to increased production and export of illicit chemicals and drugs.

    Chinese chemical exporters utilize various methods to covertly ship drugs to the Western hemisphere, including sending illicit materials through a chain of forwarding systems, mislabeling narcotic shipments, and modifying chemicals so they are not controlled in the United States. To reduce flows of fentanyl and fentanyl-like substances to the United States, U.S. regulators should reexamine policies and procedures for banning and controlling dangerous chemicals and work with their Chinese counterparts to improve regulations governing chemical exports.”

    –“A Dangerous and Increasingly Abundant Drug

    A cheap, synthetically produced opioid known as fentanyl has spawned a deadly drug crisis in the United States. Fentanyl, a powerful synthetic painkiller about 50 times more potent than heroin and 100 times stronger than morphine, is a Schedule II drug—meaning it is legally available only through a nonrefillable prescription.

    –“Recreational use of illicitly obtained fentanyl and other new psychoactive substances (NPS) has spread across the United States, with the DEA issuing nationwide health and public safety alerts in March 2015 and June 2016 about the dangers of fentanyl. In part, fentanyl is an attractive alternative to other opioids like heroin and oxycodone because it is more potent, with users typically requiring less than a milligram of the drug for a single use. In fact, fentanyl is so potent that touching or inhaling just two milligrams (or about two grains of salt) can be lethal, presenting a threat not just to drug users, but also to law enforcement personnel investigating the scene of a fentanyl overdose or production locations.

    Fentanyl is also appealing to drug users because it is inexpensive; producing 25 grams of finished fentanyl costs about $810. The combination of the drug’s potency and affordability has made fentanyl an increasingly common drug in the United States, often mixed with heroin or cocaine—either intentionally or without the user’s knowledge—to increase its euphoric effects.”

    –“Fentanyl Flows from China

    According to U.S. law enforcement and drug investigators, China is the main supplier of fentanyl to the United States, Mexico, and Canada. Because illicit fentanyl is not widely used in China, authorities place little emphasis on controlling its production and export. Chinese chemical manufacturers export a range of fentanyl products to the United States, including raw fentanyl, fentanyl precursors, fentanyl analogues, fentanyl-laced counterfeit prescription drugs like oxycodone, and pill presses and other machinery necessary for fentanyl production. These products are sent to small-scale drug distributors and criminal organizations across the United States who package and sell the product.”

    –“Mexico is rarely the final destination for illicit drug shipments, however; most fentanyl products sent to Mexico are repackaged and smuggled into the United States. Mexican cartels act as the country’s primary conduit for Chinese fentanyl destined for the United States, purchasing bulk shipments and trafficking it—either alone or mixed with other drugs like heroin—across the U.S. border. The illicit nature of these smuggling operations makes it difficult to quantify the volume of fentanyl flows from Mexico to the United States, but public reporting suggests synthetic opioids are increasingly being trafficked across the southwest border of the United States or delivered through mail couriers. In 2015, U.S. border agents seized around 200 pounds of fentanyl and other synthetic opioids from Mexico, up from just eight pounds in 2014. According DEA officials, fentanyl trafficking from Canada to the United States is limited when contrasted with flows from Mexico and China.”

    –“….Chinese pharmaceutical and chemical companies continue to divert chemicals from legitimate pharmaceutical uses and adulterate legitimate pharmaceuticals during production. This makes drug enforcement within China difficult, as many manufacturers of fentanyl and other NPS are legitimate companies legally producing chemicals. Although some of these chemical manufacturers knowingly ship their products to the United States for illicit purposes, Chinese chemical and pharmaceutical exporters continue to operate with little oversight.”

    • avatar

      Mexico complains that the US uses a lot of the drugs and that the money that flows back makes the cartels stronger. Oh, ok. Then why not support the building of a wall that would make the flow of drugs much more difficult. The answer is that the cartels and the government of Mexico are basically the same thing.

      Then we get the idiots in this country who talk about the opioid crisis and yet oppose a wall. It is beyond obvious that a wall would make it much more difficult for the drug mules who have no problem crossing the border at night knowing exactly that the border patrol are involved in another area. Going over a wall would be a struggle, a struggle that does not happen now when they waltz right in and are far into the country in minutes.

      Bono of U2 is on tour and he’s saying that the populist leaders who want to control their borders in Europe are, literally, devils. Another hypocritical leftist poser. Preach and preach about how the poorest citizens have to share what little they have. And yet a few years ago it was revealed he had hidden money in offshore accounts beyond the reach of the Irish tax system.

      One of the best things about Trump is that he doesn’t apologize for standing up to a lot of these countries. He is basically saying to countries like China and Iran that the sucking up of the Obama era is over. Remember when Iran arrested our sailors and had them kneeling the deck. That was Obama. Think they would try that with Trump? He says either straighten up or I will twist your goodies until you do. He is doing what we should have been doing all along. Use our massive economic power instead of starting all these new endless wars all over the world.