Pro-immigrant voters can win on September 12

On August 1,  pro-immigrant voters and candidates won big in the Nashville Metro elections. Of our 21 endorsed candidates, 20 of them were elected or advanced to the run-off election. Together, we took a huge step toward electing a city government that will pass bold, progressive policies to defend our values and protect our families. 

But we aren’t finished yet. Candidates in many critical races are headed to a run-off election on September 12. Eight of the pro-immigrant candidates we endorsed will be on the ballot again:

TIRRC Votes Endorsed Candidates on the September 12 Ballot

 

Council At-Large 

  • Burkley Allen

  • Fabian Bedne

  • Zulfat Suara

District 13: Russ Bradford

District 16: Ginny Welsch

District 23: Mina Johnson

District 26: Jeremy Elrod

District 30: Sandra Sepulveda

 

These candidates have already pledged to support pro-immigrant policies and to defend immigrant families.  As the federal and state government continue to attack our communities, the role of cities in protecting and investing in immigrant families has never been more important. That’s why we need real champions in elected office. 

As we consider endorsements in the mayor’s race, we are asking candidates how they are going to invest in immigrant communities, how their offices and departments will ensure immigrant inclusion, and what steps they will take to protect Nashvillians from deportation, including:

  • The Davidson County Sheriff’s Office has an agreement with ICE that allows them to use our local jails as a detention facility to hold individuals on civil immigration charges from inside and outside of Davidson County, as well as seamlessly connecting our jails and criminal justice system to the deportation pipeline. This seamless pipeline separates families and undermines trust in our entire criminal justice system. We need the next mayor to join us in calling for an end to this agreement and supporting the Sheriff or the council, in terminating it. 

  • Outside of the formal agreement with ICE to use our detention facilities, ICE is using our local law enforcement agencies to carry out federal, civil immigration enforcement. We need the next mayor and the next city council to help disentangle our local criminal justice system from ICE, including enacting clear policies to prohibit MNPD from assisting ICE and encouraging the Sheriff to stop assisting ICE beyond what is required by law.

  • Outside of local law enforcement, all of our Metro departments need clear policies for how to respond to requests from ICE, protect the privacy of clients and constituents, and to reassure immigrant families that they can feel safe accessing local governments. Our next mayor should ensure that all departments are proactive and prepared, and that the city can monitor requests from ICE and how local government agencies and offices might be being used for federal immigration enforcement . 

  • From making budget investments to creating new programs to enacting new policies, the city is responsible for helping all Nashvillians to thrive, including workforce development, home ownership, and small business support. The next mayor and council must ensure that the unique barriers immigrants face to accessing critical services and key opportunities are addressed in new and existing programs and strategies. We believe a key strategy is investing and strengthening immigration legal services in Nashville.

  • To enact all of these policies and ensure the needs of immigrant communities are addressed by city government, we believe that the next mayor must structure their office and staff roles in a way to ensure that immigrant voices are included and that the city is responsive to the changing policy climate. The next mayor should maintain and strengthen the Office of New Americans to coordinate this work.

  • In addition to policies and programs, all of our elected officials need to use their public platform to be a champion for immigrant families, to defend our values, and to help shape the public narrative about immigrants and immigration.

In this critical moment, we need bold policies and moral leadership from elected officials. Stay tuned for announcements of additional endorsements in the September 12 election and ways you can support pro-immigrant candidates.

Rebecca Hall