Bill gives judges in Tennessee power to use immigration status as felony sentencing enhancement
A new provision passed by Tennessee lawmakers in the waning hours of the legislative session this year would make the state among the toughest in the nation on undocumented immigrants convicted of felonies.
But the measure, which has not yet been signed or vetoed by Gov. Bill Haslam, could lead to a court battle. Courts have struck down similar measures in other states.
Immigration attorneys say the new law is the latest case in which states have tried to implement the "mass deportation" rhetoric pushed by President Donald Trump, highlighted by his travel ban executive orders and pledge to build a wall along the border with Mexico.
"Tennessee is unfortunately following in the Trump mass deportation movement right now," said Melisa Keaney, an attorney with the National Immigration Law Center in California.