Chattanooga Requests Coordination With Bus Company Dropping Off Immigrants So The City Can Accommodate Their Needs

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The Tennessee Conservative [By Jason Vaughn] –

Despite previous reports that buses carrying illegal aliens from Texas to D.C. would no longer be making stops in Chattanooga, a conversation with a representative of the Chattanooga mayor’s office has revealed those reports were not accurate.

Ellis Smith, Director of Special Projects for the Office of Chattanooga Mayor Tim Kelly, told The Tennessee Conservative that despite previous reports to the contrary across multiple news outlets, the office of the mayor “never requested or implied that the buses should cease routing through Chattanooga.”

Smith said they did, however, request that the charter bus company coordinate their stops with City officials so they could provide airport transportation, have translators on hand if necessary, and coordinate any other needs. 

We asked Smith if he had any idea of how many immigrants had been dropped off in the Chattanooga area, he replied – “Migrants were not ‘dropped off,’ so much as they chose to get off the bus because in most cases they had purchased plane tickets out of the Chattanooga Airport and needed to reach the airport to get to their final destination. Keep in mind that they have documentation that allows them to legally travel.” 

Smith said, “It would be difficult to put a precise number on the number of legal migrants who have transited through Chattanooga, because Chattanooga is an East Coast logistics hub (more than half of the U.S. population lives within a day’s drive) and thousands of people legally transit through every day without notifying the mayor’s office, as is their right in a free and open society.” 

“However, we did assist more than 50 legal migrants in reaching the airport so they could get to their final destination, once we were made aware that some were having difficulty getting there from the various locations they had exited these particular buses,” Smith stated.

As of August 8th, more than 150 buses traveling from Arizona and Texas have transported thousands of illegal immigrants to the nation’s capital. Since April, Texas alone has transported over 6,800 individuals to D.C. 

Smith said, “It is our understanding that it was not the goal of the state of Texas to have people get off in Chattanooga, the goal was for people to ride the bus all the way to Washington D.C. or New York City, and so they may have made the decision to reroute on that basis.” 

Smith indicated that the City is welcoming to the immigrants by stating, “As with many cities, Chattanooga businesses have suffered from the same labor shortage that businesses across the country have faced these last years, and we are certainly open and welcoming to those who would ultimately choose to make a life here and contribute to our prosperity and growth.”

Mayor Tim Kelly stated that the immigrants are “asylum seekers,”  saying that the individuals were fleeing life-threatening situations, that they have paperwork which allows them to travel in the U.S. and went on to say, “the general public should not be concerned for their safety from these people.”

On the state-level, several bills were introduced in the last session of the General Assembly concerning illegal immigration. However, the only ones that passed were either not helpful in curbing the influx of illegal immigrants into the Volunteer State or served as another magnet to bring more illegals to the state.

As outlined in The Tennessee Conservative’s RINO Report, these are the illegal immigration bills that passed or failed the General Assembly last session:

• Relocating Illegal Aliens To Home States Of Biden, Harris, Pelosi & Schumer

HB1994 / SB2636 – Legislation sought to require the Commission of Safety, in collaboration with the Commissioner of Human Services, to implement a system for the relocation of illegal aliens who arrive in Tennessee to other locations.  Legislation sponsored by Rep. Bruce Griffey in the House and Sen. Frank Niceley in the Senate.

Status: Failed in the House Department and Agencies Subcommittee after no Representative in the Subcommittee offered a second to move the bill forward.

Opening Door For Non-U.S. Citizens To Receive Professional Licenses In TN

HB2309 / SB2464 – Law paves the way for non-U.S. citizens to obtain professional and commercial licenses in the Volunteer state; increasing magnets for illegal aliens to migrate to and successfully habitate in the Volunteer State.  Bipartisan legislation sponsored by Democrat Bob Freeman in the House and Republican Shane Reeves in the Senate.

Status: 34 House Republicans voted in favor of House Bill 2309, while 15 Senate Republicans voted in favor of Senate Bill 2464.  Governor Bill Lee had the power to veto the bill, but signed it into law only four days after it reached his desk. 

E-Verify Bill To Weaken Job Magnets For Illegal Aliens In Tennessee

HB1636 / SB2297 – Legislation sought to require employers of six or more individuals to utilize an e-verification program in hiring; remove immunity for an employer’s reliance on other forms of verification; and prescribed penalties for employers found to be in violation. Legislation sponsored by Rep. Bruce Griffey in the House and Sen. Mark Pody in the Senate.

Status: Deferred to ‘Summer Study’ in the House Banking and Consumer Affairs Subcommittee.  Motion to move to summer study made by Rep. Clark Boyd citing preference for his own E-verify bill that, after amendments, only lowered employee threshold from current 50 to 35, prescribed no disciplinary action and fines for businesses/individuals that are found to be in violation and would not ask that employers use the E-verify system to verify the work authorization status of employees unless they are hired on or after January 1st, 2023.

Allowing Local Law Officials To Enforce Federal Immigration Laws

HB2222/ SB2264 – Legislation sought to give local law enforcement the authority to enforce federal law and arrest anyone transporting, harboring or facilitating the transport of illegal aliens into Tennessee. Legislation sponsored by Rep. Dennis Powers in the House and Sen. Frank Niceley in the Senate.

Status: Failed in Senate Judiciary Committee with Republican Senators Mike Bell, Todd Gardenhire and John Stevens voting against.

Stopping Tennessee Taxpayer Education Funding Of Illegal Aliens

HB1648 / SB2597 – Legislation sought to stop taxpayers from being forced to fund education for illegal immigrants.  Give school systems the choice of whether they wanted to enroll students who are unlawfully in the United States. School districts who choose to do so would no longer receive state funding for those students, leaving them responsible for any costs associated with educating those children.  Legislation sponsored by Rep. Bruce Griffey in the House and Sen. Joey Hensley in the Senate.

Status: Failed in the House K-12 Subcommittee with Republican Representatives Kirk Haston, Mark White and Chris Hurt voting against.

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 Director 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

One thought on “Chattanooga Requests Coordination With Bus Company Dropping Off Immigrants So The City Can Accommodate Their Needs

  • August 25, 2022 at 5:34 pm

    Good for them, Make things easier for the one way route to and BLUE state.


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