Gov. Lee: Legal to investigate if Shelby County is breaking immigration law

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Tennessee Republican gubernatorial nominee Bill Lee speaks with reporters after an event with the faith-based prison nonprofit Men of Valor in Nashville, Tenn. on Tuesday, Sept. 18, 2018. (AP Photo/Jonathan Mattise)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Newly elected Gov. Bill Lee says he will direct his legal counsel to investigate whether Tennessee’s most populated county is following a new law that prohibits local authorities from requiring a warrant or probable cause before complying with federal immigration detainers.

Earlier this month, the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office said it won’t detain anyone being released from jail without a warrant or probable cause because the county attorney advised that the new law doesn’t apply to them. But it will keep notifying federal authorities when noncitizens are booked.

This announcement prompted top Tennessee Republicans to declare the county wasn’t following the law. However, Lee is going a step further by assigning his legal team to look into the matter.

Lee, a Republican, is scheduled to be sworn in Saturday.

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