Updated April 15, 2021
Published April 13, 2021
The Tennessee Conservative Staff –
As Tennessee schools continue to struggle to overcome learning loss worsened by the government’s response to the virus, Hamilton County Schools have been alerted to expect an influx of immigrant children to be admitted into the school system, as reported by Chattanoogan.com.
The email states: “The Chattanooga area may experience an increase of unattended migrant youth…. If any of the students show up to register at your school, please register them immediately. They do not need 2 proofs of residency (or be “in zone”), a birth certificate, immunization record, or proof of guardianship as they will be covered under the McKenney-Vento Homeless Act.”
However, according to a Fact Sheet published by the Department of Education, the children do not fall under the McKenney-Vento Act until they are released to their sponsor.
In an interview with The Tennessee Conservative, Hamilton County Mayor Jim Coppinger said, “I didn’t know anything about it. I actually read about it in a local publication. No one has contacted me about it officially even yet.”
U.S. Senator Marsha Blackburn states, “Biden’s border crisis is hitting home fast. Do these schools have the space and staff to handle this surge? This is unfair to TN school children. When our border isn’t secure, every town is a border town.”
Tennessee taxpayers are weighing in on this issue because of its potential impact on the community. From 2013 through 2017, 46 percent of these unaccompanied minors disappeared before court.
In raw numbers, 22,149 children out of 48,543 never made their court dates, meaning the person or agency with custody of the child ignored their summons (better known as a Notice to Appear or NTA).
Helen, a Tennessee resident, said, “We must stop this invasion into our state of Tennessee. This should be presented to the legislators immediately for them to enact laws to stop it before it gets completely out of hand. We can see what is happening to the rest of the country by all of this. Please let’s protect our beautiful state of Tennessee.”
“Each state should have full disclosure about who enters for residency. If the Tennessee does not agree to accept people entering illegally, then they should be sent to a state that voted for this mess,” Lauria Rutan stated.
In response to this story reaching the public, Hamilton County Schools issued this statement on Social Media:
“Regardless of where migrant children may come from, The Supreme Court of the United States ruled in Plyler v. Doe (1982) that the State cannot deny access to public education to a child on the basis of their citizenship status. The McKinney-Vento Act of 1987 is federal law that also speaks to the role of a public school system in educating unaccompanied youth, which includes migrant children.”
In response to our inquiries, The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued this statement to the Tennessee Conservative:
“The Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) at HHS’ Administration for Children and Families provides residential care and services for unaccompanied children (UC) through contracts or the competitive or non-competitive grant process to organizations incorporated under state law which have demonstrated child welfare, social service, or related experience and are appropriately licensed to provide care and associated services to dependent children.
The Baptiste Group operates a state-licensed facility for UC in ORR care. ORR has specific requirements for the provision of services. Award recipients must have the infrastructure, licensing, experience, and appropriate level of trained staff to meet those requirements. Also, for security reasons, we do not release the locations of the permanent, state-licensed shelters.”
According to News Channel 9, last year Pastor Kevin Wallace on Redemption to the Nations Church leased a “vacant and unused building to a non-profit, federally funded organization for the purpose of providing compassionate care and family unification services for children displaced from their families.”
The building in question is an old Tennessee Temple Dormitory in Chattanooga on Vance Avenue. Black tarps have been erected around the perimeter of the building, preventing the public from seeing what is taking place on the grounds.
In response to our breaking story on Friday, more readers posted their feelings on the issue.
Grant Howze stated, “To quote Sir Thomas Browne, ‘charity begins at home.’ You need to care for your own people before caring for others. As long as there are veterans living on the street or having to wait for months for healthcare, not a penny of tax dollars should go to care for those here illegally.”
Julia said, “I wholeheartedly believe that this country needs to take a stand on these illegal immigrants coming in to the United States. I don’t care if they are children or great grand-parents. They are still a human being that requires more care than we need to be providing. Let’s recover from the pandemic and then take another look at immigration. This country needs to focus on one problem at a time.”
“Fault NOT the children, but rather those who intentionally communicated and abandoned them at our southern-most border, for criminals they have been, and remain, “said Lewis Deane.
The Tennessee Conservative has reached out to the following but have yet to receive a reply:
District 4 County Commissioner Warren Mackey, District 9 City Councilmember Demetrus Coonrod, Chattanooga City Mayor Andy Berke, Tennessee Governor Bill Lee, Tennessee State Senator Todd Gardenhire, and U.S. Representative Chuck Fleischmann.
U.S. Senator Bill Hagerty recently released this statement.
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.