STATEMENT | Tennessee Legislative Committee Passes Dangerous Bill Denying Housing to Undocumented Immigrants


For Immediate Release: 
March 12, 2019
Contact: Hamp Price | | (615) 241-0752

Tennessee Legislative Committee Passes Dangerous Bill Denying Housing to Undocumented Immigrants
HB0614 would require landlords to say, "show me your papers"


Nashville, TN - The House Business subcommittee voted today to advance HB0614, Representative Bruce Griffey's (R-Paris) bill to deny housing to undocumented immigrants. HB0614 criminalizes renting housing to people without an immigration status and establishes penalties, including incarceration, for landlords.

Representatives Doggett (R-Pulaski), Hill (R-Blountville), Hurt (R-Halls), Chairman Johnson (R-Clarksville), and Wright (R-Corryton) voted in favor. Representative Jesse Chism (D-Memphis) voted against the measure. The bill will now be placed on calendar for the House Commerce Committee.

This bill is one of several filed by Representative Bruce Griffey (R-Paris) to make Tennessee the "last place" undocumented immigrants would choose to live. During committee debate, Griffey said the intent of this bill was to make Tennessee, "unfriendly," and that U.S. citizen children put at risk of homelessness because of this legislation wouldn't be prohibited from housing, but their undocumented parents or caregivers would need "other arrangements."

The following is a statement from Lisa Sherman-Nikolaus, policy director at Tennessee Immigrant & Refugee Rights Coalition and TIRRC Votes:

"Representative Griffey's despicable bill seeks to strip the most basic of human needs from hardworking Tennesseans-- the roof over their heads. The bill puts thousands of children at risk of homelessness and harm,  and detrimentally affects their health and their ability to get an education.

While reasonable Tennesseans can disagree on our federal immigration policy, voters won't support the legislature's extremism of forcing undocumented families out of their homes. We urge members of the next committee and Governor Lee to resoundingly reject this hateful bill."


TIRRC Votes was launched in 2018 to strengthen and expand our democracy by building power in immigrant and refugee communities and advocating for equitable and inclusive public policy. TIRRC Votes is affiliated with the Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition (TIRRC).

TIRRC is a statewide, immigrant and refugee-led collaboration whose mission is to empower immigrants and refugees throughout Tennessee to develop a unified voice, defend their rights, and create an atmosphere in which they are recognized as positive contributors to the state. Since its founding in 2001, TIRRC has worked to develop immigrant leadership, build the capacity of its immigrant-led member organizations, help immigrant community members understand and engage in the civic process, and educate the public about policies that would better promote integration of new immigrants and facilitate their full participation in US society. In just a few years TIRRC has grown from a grassroots network of community leaders into one of the most diverse and effective coalitions of its kind, a model for emerging immigrant rights organizations in the Southeast and throughout the United States.

Rebecca Hall