Published April 9, 2021
Photo Credit: The Tennessee Conservative / Biden image by Gage Skidmore / CC
The Tennessee Conservative Staff –
An anonymous tip called in to The Tennessee Conservative News Line claimed that migrant children from Joe Biden’s border crisis were being housed at 1914 Vance Avenue, an old Tennessee Temple Dormitory in Chattanooga, TN.
According to the source, 6-10 adolescents have been transported in unmarked vans for medical care and other services every day for 14 days or longer – meaning 60 to 140 children may or may not be in protective custody. When Terrance Ware, Director of Operations for The Baptiste Group, was asked in person at the shelter if the building housed migrant children from the border crisis, he declined to comment.
Black tarps have been erected around the perimeter of the building, preventing the public from seeing what is taking place on the grounds.
Across the nation, many taxpayers and elected officials have protested the housing of illegal immigrants from the border crisis in their cities, citing health, safety and financial considerations to the community. Negative impacts from immigration tax already strained health, education and criminal justice systems.
The Baptist Group has previously met opposition to its facilities in communities where residents do not want the negative impact of illegal immigration in their communities.
In 2019, federal grant monies were awarded to several groups for the purpose of creating residential shelter facilities for unaccompanied alien children. One of the groups, the Georgia-based Baptiste Group, received a federal grant for $3.7 million.
The group initially submitted a proposal to operate a residential facility at the former Southside Middle School in Memphis. That proposal was withdrawn after Shelby County School Board Members questioned the group’s exact plans.
At the time of the proposal, school board member Michelle Robinson McKissack expressed concerns.
“They can’t just shove them anywhere without the proper facilities,” McKissack stated. “There’s clearly some precedent for that, and I don’t want that happening in Shelby County.”
According to a letter provided to Shelby County Schools, Baptiste Group Vice President Gretchen Baptiste stated that the organization’s mission was to “provide humanitarian services to children in a nurturing environment”.
An online search of the company gives no indication of any previous experience with providing youth services, but this is one of the areas referenced on the company’s website.
State records indicate that The Baptiste Group, LLC, registered with the office of the Secretary of State in May 2019. Kevin Baptiste is listed as the principal officer with a business address located in the old Tennessee Temple dormitory building located at 1914 Vance Avenue in Chattanooga.
The Baptiste Group’s website also lists dozens employment opportunities in Chattanooga, including one for a bilingual teacher of Spanish and English and another for a bilingual youth care worker.
Requests for comment on this story have not yet been returned, but one city councilman who was asked indicated that he doesn’t know anything about it.
The Tennessee Conservative News reached out to the Chattanooga Mayor’s office, but they stated they had no foreknowledge of the facility’s existence. An email was sent to a media contact provided by The Baptiste Group for the Administration for Children & Families, but we did not receive a comment before going to press.
The Tennessee Conservative will continue to follow this story as it progresses. If you have information regarding this story, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.