Afghan Refugee Vetting Process In Question While TN Targeted For Resettlement

Photo credit: EU/ECHO Pierre Prakash / CC 

As Governor Lee’s administration refuses to comment about their stance on the influx of Afghan refugees being relocated to Tennessee, House Speaker Cameron Sexton voices his distrust in the Biden Administration’s vetting process.  

Tennessee Capitol Building in Nashville

As reported by the Tennessee Star, Governor Lee nor his staff have made comment as to what action, if any, is deemed necessary to respond to the influx of new Afghan refugees. 

However, House Speaker Cameron Sexton (R-Crossville), stated “I do not have confidence in the Biden administration’s vetting process concerning the refugee issue, much less his ability to work with law enforcement and immigration officials.  His administration has been a failure on both immigration and foreign policy. Therefore, I do not think it is a good idea for Tennessee to accept Afghan refugees.” 

Lieutenant Governor Randy McNally (R-Oak Ridge) has a different take. 

“Afghanistan is a unique situation. For nearly 20 years, we have had a significant military presence there and solicited help from many inside the country to fight against the Taliban.  Those that helped us are now at risk. Our nation should do everything it can to assist legitimate and authentic political refugees from Afghanistan in finding new places to call home,” McNally said. 

Despite the Lee administration’s tight-lipped approach to the new influx of refugees coming into the state, statements Lee made last year appear to still be in effect. 

As reported by the Tennessean in December, Governor Lee chose to continue to allow ‘refugees’ to enter the state, making Tennessee one of only a few Republican-led states that allows ‘resettlement’ of this nature. 

At that time, the Trump administration gave Tennessee the option to decline allowing refugee resettlement in the state, but Lee agreed to “responsibly resettle refugees,” much to the chagrin of several Tennessee Republican legislators, including Speaker Sexton. 

This is the same consent that opened the door to Tennessee becoming a drop-off point for immigrant minors coming to the state via Biden’s Border Crisis. 

The Tennessee Star uncovered that a Knoxville-based non-profit is apparently coordinating the relocation of the new Afghan refugees within the state. 

In a phone interview with the Star, the Executive Director of Bridge Refugee Services, Drocella Mugorewera stated that, “We will welcome them.” 

Mugorewera went on to state that the federal government has sent the Afghan refugees to them and told WVLT last week that they “are training volunteers until the federal government confirms how many refugees will be sent to their Knoxville and Chattanooga locations, as well as when they will be arriving.” 

Bridge Refugee Services also told WVLT that on August 12th, two Afghan people were relocated to East Tennessee, and they expect more to come in the near future. 

In a post on Facebook, The Tennessee Conservative asked our followers, “Should Bill Lee import unvetted Afghan refugees to East Tennessee like he did illegal immigrants?” 

Here are just a few of the comments we received: 

Dick Veteto said, “Absolutely not. Send them to blue states – Delaware, California, New Hampshire and others.” 

Anthony Salvaggio said, “The answer to your questions is a very simple and obvious NO! The better question- how do we remove Bill Lee and get a leader with a spine, accountability, conviction, one who works in the best interest of their constituents?” 

Rick Clanton said, “NO! We have enough unvetted, already here, from the border.” 

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Regarding the vetting process, Politifact reports that refugees that arrive in the U.S. must first pass background checks and other screenings. 

However, they state that, “We have found in the past that no vetting system is foolproof, and there are challenges to collecting data even in settings less urgent than the airport in Kabul.” 

Politifact also states that, “it’s hard to independently verify specifics about the screening process given the evolving situation.” 

Politifact defines refugees as people who are unable or unwilling to return home because they fear serious harm. 

The refugees need to demonstrate to a U.S. immigration official overseas that they were persecuted or fear persecution in their home country due to race, religion, nationality, political opinion or membership in a particular social group. 

However, other Afghanistan evacuees are also considered refugees.  

The State Department announced in August a “Priority 2” designation granting access to the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program for Afghan nationals and their eligible family members. 

Eligible individuals included Afghans who did not meet the minimum time in service for the special immigrant visa, Afghans who worked for a U.S.-funded program or project, and Afghans employed by U.S. media or nongovernmental organizations. 

The State Department continues to not provide specifics on intended housing locations, processing timelines or onward destinations for the Afghan refugees. 

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About the Author: Jason Vaughn, Media Coordinator for The Tennessee Conservative  ~ Jason previously worked for a legacy publishing company based in Crossville, TN in a variety of roles through his career.  Most recently, he served as Deputy Directory for their flagship publication. Prior, he was a freelance journalist writing articles that appeared in the Herald Citizen, the Crossville Chronicle and The Oracle among others.  He graduated from Tennessee Technological University with a Bachelor’s in English-Journalism, with minors in Broadcast Journalism and History.  Contact Jason at

13 thoughts on “Afghan Refugee Vetting Process In Question While TN Targeted For Resettlement

  • September 10, 2021 at 3:46 pm

    I’ve been considering moving to Tennessee because of it being a Red state. But this last year as I look at it and read the news on it… it seems to me Governor Lee is not a strong conservative leader!!!! There have been many view points that I see him leaning to the policies of the left…. We currently live in California for over 40 years and seeing all liberalism has done to CA we are ready to leave…. Tennessee and Texas were our top picks and I so love the beauty of Tennessee but the politics seem to be moving to a more liberal agenda.

    • September 10, 2021 at 4:30 pm

      IF you are a Conservative, we would be proud to have you and your family here! There are a few things that Gov Lee has done that has brought ire to the people of TN, and we also have a couple Blue cesspools (Nashville, Memphis) but overall, THIS IS A RED STATE!! Conservatives are the Majority in the State House… Move to a small town, stay away from the Cities, esp the 2 mentioned above. I think you would enjoy it here very much, We have open carry, My town has NEVER been on lockdown, NO masks, NO vax mandates. People live their lives.

    • September 10, 2021 at 9:33 pm

      Let me tell you this state may look beautiful as an outsider looking at pictures. Very democratic state, Bible belt democrats, many moving in from east coast and especially CA. They have driven the housing market through the roof for us here as ou taxes and insurance on our homes are for some not affordable anymore. More crime in ever community, not just Nashville and drugs very bad. If I could figure out where to move it would not be here.

    • September 12, 2021 at 4:40 pm

      look at my home state of South Dakota. Ive lived here in TN for more than 30 years, and have watched a red state turn purple, in particular Williamson and Davidson County. When I moved here in 93, Nashville was RED. Its turned blue because Tennesseans were asleep. We had influxes of people from the east and west coasts come in and “show us dumb southerners” how to “run a community”….. and weve had and still have waves of illegal immigrants from Central America, Mexico, Somalia, Yemen, and other countries invade our state, some through Catholic Charities and some by the federal government flying them in in the dark of night, without the want or pressure of assimilation, come here. It has CHANGED US, and not for the better. Sorry not sorry. My husband is from Kansas. I grew up on a ranch in South Dakota. After our boys are out of school, I would move back home in a heartbeat. TN is NOT what it used to be. If you wish to come here to TN and fight, we could use the hands. WE are the volunteer state, after all. If you are not interested in fighting (though I think you will have to fight wherever you go), GO to Dakota territory, maam. Go north. TN has a battle on its hands.

  • September 10, 2021 at 4:31 pm

    If even one person is harmed by a “vetted” refugee, there should be a lawsuit filed against the Biden regime!

  • September 10, 2021 at 6:02 pm

    I am a retired Army officer who is very well aware of the issues of Afghan refugees, as well as those of “illegal immigrants”!

    I do not feel that they are even remotely to be considered similar or even spoken of in the same breath or sentence.

    We ask those we work with in combat related countries to work with us and put their and their families lives in danger, and when we put our tail between our legs and withdraw (retreat or run), then we owe them almost as much as our veterans who have served in these same environments.

    Do not embarrass those of us who love Tennessee by acting so thoughtlessly or irresponsibly. Ensure accurate vetting, but open your heart and home to those who gave for us!

  • September 10, 2021 at 7:04 pm

    Carolyn, my wife and I moved from Los Angeles to the Nashville area last June. Yes there are leftist pukes here but we are still very happy we chose to come. We picked TN to strengthen conservative freedoms in the state and this will be our last stand! I do not consider myself a Republican as they are much too liberal. We could not stand Texas weather and many of us feel that Texas will turn blue and fall much quicker than here. I have also noticed lately a large amount of conservatives moving from Texas to Tennessee, very telling!

    Please come join us, we would be very happy to welcome you!

    • September 10, 2021 at 9:43 pm

      you sound like you are why many born and raised TN people don’t abide by people from CA, attitude

  • September 10, 2021 at 8:14 pm

    I have watched as this supposedly ” Conservative Governor” Lee has betrayed everything that he promised us when he ran for Governor. The man is not to be trusted , nor should he ever have been voted in as Governor. Of course these despicable people like Lee talk big and then turn traitor to those that vote for them once they get in office by deception and lies. He is a LIAR and a RINO !!! I hope we all remember this clown next time it comes time to decide on whether or not to keep this reprobate in office. My family, and my friends and I will not forget this traitor and will vote or not vote accordingly.
    Also don’t forget the stupidity of the Lieutenant Governor that apparently trusts the Bai Dung vetting process. Include him in the no confidence vote right along with the nit wit Lee.

  • September 10, 2021 at 8:29 pm

    We’ve noticed that the root of a lot of Tennessee’s problems stems from Gov. Bill Lee. We’ve called his office and sent emails and mailed letters – all to no avail. His term doesn’t end until January 2023. A lot of damage can happen to all of us between now and then. How can we remove him?

  • September 10, 2021 at 9:14 pm

    I would like to see Tennessee stay conservative. I moved to Tennessee seven years ago from California. I chose Tennessee because it was largely Republican and conservative. I wish we could remain conservative and not join the The army of liberals and haters. I prefer a tougher stance on the immigration of anyone less that those standards I chose by joining the group of Tennessee conservatives.

  • September 11, 2021 at 3:46 am

    We moved from solidly conservative Alabama to the Upper Cumberland region for the health of our horse(yes, our horse). We are Constitutional Conservatives who will NEVER vote for anyone espousing Marxist, progressive policies. We are not “woke;” we are “awakened.” We love this climate, and we have met kind and helpful people. Bright smiles and “Welcome to Tennessee!”

  • September 13, 2021 at 10:50 am

    Well Fellow Tennesseans it is time to make a Change–No More Gov. Lee, No More Illegal Immigrants–You can’t vet the Sharia out of Afghan’s period!!! Their whole life vision is Hate the West (That’s you and I) and their Slogan is ” Immigrate, Proliferate, Dominate–we just don’t need this to happen in this State. Let NY and CA have all the want.


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