Help Immigrant Families Feel Safe In Our Communities

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To the Honorable Governor Haslam,

As faith leaders and people of good will, we write to express concern regarding HB 2315 and respectfully ask you to veto this dangerous bill.

Right now, Immigrants who pay taxes, love Jesus, and contribute to our communities are afraid to go for a walk, attend school, and drive to their Church because of the possibility of being detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Further, many are already victims of crime and seen as easy prey due to perceived fear of contacting local police and authorities.

If HB 2315 is passed, it will force local law enforcement to assist Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) by inquiring about immigration and citizen status, and help with deportations, separating Immigrant parents from their children, communities, and Churches—further driving immigrant families deeper into the shadows and heightening their fear.

We understand the State’s role in promoting the welfare of Tennessee, and the need to step in when there are horrific crimes such as sex trafficking, gang activity, and drug trafficking. We are extremely concerned this bill would further subject every immigrant to further trauma and will make them targets of deportation, especially those who are good neighbors, members of our Churches, and valuable contributors to our communities.

Leviticus 19:18 is the origin of the world-acclaimed words: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” The rest of the chapter gives over 50 examples of neighborly conduct. One is Leviticus 19:33-34: “When a stranger sojourns with you in your land, you shall not do him wrong. You shall treat the stranger who sojourns with you as the native among you, and you shall love him as yourself, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God.” Loving our neighbor includes the immigrant.

As faith leaders and people of good will, we respectfully ask you to veto HB 2315. We are thankful for your leadership as Governor and appreciate all you do for the State of Tennessee.

Please consider signing this petition to urge Governor Bill Haslam to veto HB 2315 and help Immigrant families feel safe in our communities.

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