January 1st enacted a new policy for Tennessee jails. Every inmate’s residency status is now going to be checked to make sure they are all in the country legally.
Tennessee’s new immigration law requires that jailers and other local law enforcement officials ask every inmate two things: Where were you born? Are you here illegally?
If it is discovered that an inmate is in the country illegally, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is notified and the matter of deportation rests with them. However, ICE may decide to have the person continue his or her sentence and/or be processed through the regular legal system rather than be deported.
A Rhea County Sheriff says the new law will change things in the jail very little since the authorities there already ask the questions.
The ACLU of Tennessee says that the new immigration law carries the potential to cause racial profiling instead of simply weeding out illegal immigrants. They worry officers and other officials will misuse their power.