Lee Authorized Afghan Refugee Resettlement Across Tennessee

Photo Credit: Governor Bill Lee / Facebook

The Tennessee Conservative [By Jason Vaughn] –

With a decision made in December 2020, Lee authorized the continued resettlement of refugees across the state, making Tennessee one of only a few Republican-led states that allows resettlement of this nature.

Although Lee has stated that the federal government owes Americans a plan before anything can be considered in regards to taking Afghan refugees, his previously stated open-door policy for welcoming refugees appears to be alive and well as they are currently arriving and being relocated within the state.

Tennessee Capitol Building in Nashville

In December 2020, 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. 

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.

In a portion of a statement Lee made (regarding Kurdish refugees) to Fox 17 WZTV Nashville on January 8th, 2020, he said, “… I’m not turning my back on those people.”

Just this week, the American Muslim Advisory Council confirmed that nearly 300 Afghan refugees will be coming to the Nashville area.  Catholic Charities will be hosting 150 of them and the Nashville International Center for Empowerment will be responsible for 140 more.

Nashville Mayor John Cooper tweeted on Tuesday that “America is a nation of immigrants, and Nashville will always be a welcoming city.”

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Last week, it was announced that 36 Afghan refugees would be relocated to Memphis set to arrive early this week.  World Relief Memphis has been selected to receive the refugees and according to NewsChannel 3 WREG Memphis, they will do so with support of the City of Memphis and Shelby County.

The Commercial Appeal reports that more are expected to arrive in the next several months.

PJ Moore, director of World Relief Memphis, states that the newcomers will require heavy support and orientation to get through the early days in the new country, to find work and in some cases, to learn English.

Only 11 of those new arrivals are being admitted in the “special immigrant visa” category, which qualifies them for a wide range of federal aid, including money for food and other support.

An additional 25 people are being admitted as parolees, which means that they arrive without that support. To stay in the United States, they will have to apply for political asylum.

The mayors of Memphis and Shelby County have said they will work with World Relief Memphis to provide some of the necessary services to those refugees who don’t yet qualify for federal aid.

Bridge Refugee Services, with offices in Knoxville and Chattanooga, are set to receive an unknown number of refugees to be relocated to unknown locations in the state.

The Executive Director of Bridge, Drocella Mugorewera previously stated 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.”

The Tennessee Conservative has reached out to Bridge for clarity regarding state-level authorization of resettlement, state-level vetting and other concerns but have yet to receive word at the time of publication.

Meanwhile, the vetting process the federal government oversees is in question by some Tennessee Republican legislators.

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.”

Politifact backs up this concern by stating 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.”

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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 news@TennesseeConservativeNews.com

15 thoughts on “Lee Authorized Afghan Refugee Resettlement Across Tennessee

  • September 16, 2021 at 4:34 pm
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    Randy McNally justified this by saying those hard-working friends who helped us in Afghanistan deserve to come here now and be our neighbors and be protected by our country. That’s not who is coming here. The people who got on the planes were not even vetted. It could be anyone coming here, even our enemy. Remember those pilots who took over and flew those four planes twenty years ago? Them!

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    • September 19, 2021 at 1:07 pm
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      THOSE hard working people were paid to help us, and they will seel us out just as fast

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  • September 16, 2021 at 6:47 pm
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    Lee continues to be a significant disappointment in regards refugees vs asylum seekers. Apparently most of the scheduled Afghans are not actually eligible for applying for asylum if they simply boarded a plane out of Kabul. They should have been kept in the region and told to apply there. The priority should be SIV’s, those who worked with us and no others.

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  • September 16, 2021 at 7:19 pm
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    Lee should not have done this. This should be voted on by citizens of Tennessee.

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    • September 17, 2021 at 1:34 am
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      I agree. Can Tennessee afford to take care of these refugees and will they bring sickness with them. Covid (delta) measles. Tennessee has enough problems. I moved here in 2020 and I didn’t know this was happening. I feel sorry for refugees illegals but only a limited number should be welcome here when we can be afford to take care of them. I am already wishing we moved to a different state.

      Reply
  • September 16, 2021 at 7:55 pm
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    Lee says he’s not turning his back on these people. Are they being housed in his neighborhood? Will this be more then a photo-op then back to the cocktail circuit for the rhinos?

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  • September 16, 2021 at 8:06 pm
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    The illegals and the Biden administration, with sanctions from Lee, have made a mockery of every aspect of the legal immigration process. There are many who have been waiting in line long time to come, following laws and due process. To heck with them. Bring in hoards of unvented, untested illegals from the Middle East, give them free housing, food, medical care and spending money, while raising property taxes of Nashville homeowners 34%in one year. Oh, and at the same time Biden intentionally left thousands of Americans behind to be slaughter. And Lee is aiding abetting this crime

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    • September 19, 2021 at 1:11 pm
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      SO very TRUE I seen on FOX news yesterday, there were 10,000 illegals at our souhthern bourder, as of yesterday. BIDEN and the DEMOCRATS are trying to change the voter rolls. AND CRAP like this is helping them, and LIKE FOOLS WE THE TAX PAYERS are APYING FOR THEM

      Reply
  • September 16, 2021 at 8:16 pm
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    One of my lasting regrets will be that I voted for this man.

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  • September 16, 2021 at 11:45 pm
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    Ad a recent conservative transplant I implore the voters of TN to vote out any politician that violates the public trust and unwittingly or intentionally place the populace in a hazardous and dangerous position in regards to possible terrorist infiltration and illegal immigration. Why should we pay for and tolerate Gov. Lee’s lack of common sense and obligation to the citizens of TN.

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    • September 17, 2021 at 1:35 am
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      I agree. Can Tennessee afford to take care of these refugees and will they bring sickness with them. Covid (delta) measles. Tennessee has enough problems. I moved here in 2020 and I didn’t know this was happening. I feel sorry for refugees illegals but only a limited number should be welcome here when we can be afford to take care of them. I am already wishing we moved to a different state.

      Reply
    • September 17, 2021 at 1:37 am
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      You are right we need a Governor that puts Tennessee first !

      Reply
  • September 17, 2021 at 2:02 am
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    We as a state have to get Lee out of office, what a damn waisted ! Even if we do a recall, he needs to go !!!

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  • September 19, 2021 at 1:17 pm
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    I am sick of hearing about the poor ILLEGALS, just look at the mess BIDEN has causeed alreday. THEY are killing this country with THE POOR ILLEGALS. PREETY soon we wont have a country, it is alreday, not the country I grew up in, what a SHAME

    Reply
  • September 22, 2021 at 10:29 pm
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    WoW!!!! Way to go Lee…. PUT TENNESSEE first, Our Homeless, Veterans, Seniors and so on. Why on earth are you welcoming them Tennessee? Are they going to be dumped in many small towns along a main street or off the I-40 to I-70. How many are REALLY sincere and not looking to start a No Go ZOne like Dearborne Michigan and other No Go Zones?

    Are they going to equipped with Housing programs, learn English as a Second Language, Training for office to labor skills and more? Why didn’t you ask the citizens of Tennessee oh WAIT we’re not important. Our taxes will go up, housing market is crazy bidding wars, we have the highest in COVID cases. We can’t even get a simple procedure done at our hospitals to getting into our Drs offices.

    Nice Going and hope you Clean up the mess if it gets out of hand!

    Reply

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