Senator Gardenhire: Examine Your “Facts” On Illegal Immigration

Tennessee Senate District 10 Resident, Larry Grohn, Issues A Response To Senator Todd Gardenhire’s Stance On Illegal Immigration In Tennessee As Presented In Gardenhire’s Editorial On The Chattanoogan, Echoing The Opinions Of Many Conservative Tennessee Residents.

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Photo: Senator Todd Gardenhire

Photo Credit: & Charlene N. Simmons / CC

Published June 15, 2021

By Larry Grohn –

I once heard Gardenhire say, “I might be wrong, but I know where I stand.”  In his article on the migrant child issue he said, “We need to separate rhetoric from the facts.” Let’s review some of the inconvenient facts which you failed to mention in your article.

First, I would like to say I am certain Jochebed, although a slave at the time, was not in Egypt illegally. Gardenhire’s reference was to a “what would you do situation”. She was trying to save her son, to give him a chance, however slim.

The point remains, these migrant children have entered our country illegally.

Our nation developed laws over time to administer immigration into our nation. Our immigration laws have needed serious reforms for years.

However, settling these “minors” in not only rewards the illegality, but also guarantees a continuing flood of illegals into the country.

What are the ages of these migrant “children” being transported into Tennessee? How many of them are in fact adults, but were told to lie about their age since many are coming in with no documents of any kind?  Who is paying the bill for their lodging, food, transportation, and oversight?  Gardenhire says not we Tennesseans.  Then who?  The federal government to whom we pay taxes?  There is never a free lunch, taxpayers pay whether at the local or federal level.

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Gardenhire waxed rhetorically about his mission trip experience.

I also have gone on mission trips into Mexico. I too observed the extreme poverty and lack of opportunity which exist there. I have visited several countries where similar issues exist. Trying to help those outside of our borders is laudable, but the point remains, these “children” are in our country and state illegally. By allowing the unrestricted flow at our borders, we promote the huge business of drug cartels and Non-Government Organizations (NGO)s who provide transport pipelines to our borders.

We did not face “the same issue with Cambodian [and Vietnamese] refugees”.

The historical fact is the Vietnamese and Cambodian refugees of the 1970s were not illegal immigrants following the Vietnam conflict. You cannot compare that wartime refugee situation to the illegal invasion taking place today.

Gardenhire said, “If your ancestors were immigrants, you should welcome people who want to be here.” America handled immigration differently until the 20th century. All immigrants – Irish, Italians, eastern Europeans, Asians, etc. – travelled great distances, endured much and suffered discrimination once here. What is Gardenhire’s point? Most people in America can trace their roots back to ancestors who immigrated here. The fact is they did not enter the country illegally.

This is an excerpt from Vice Pres. Harris’ opening remarks at the Washington Conference on the Americas on May 4, 2021.

“… Latin Americans are leaving their homes at alarming rates . . .They leave only when they feel they must . . .We must focus on the root causes of [this] immigration -corruption, violence, poverty and lack of opportunity.” – Source: C-SPAN – May 4, 2021

Gardenhire seems to agree with VP Harris that America has an obligation to fix the problems of corruption, poverty, violence and lack of opportunity in Latin America.

Has all the foreign aid America has given Latin America over decades done anything to alleviate these problems? NO!

Einstein is said to have stated, “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.” Pres. Biden believes if we just throw more money and more money at Latin America somehow it will fix the problems.

Gardenhire said, “Tennessee is not obligated to provide any benefits to these children.” His statement totally ignores the “fact” these children are currently being taken care of through our federal taxes. If they are settled into Tennessee they will be using the local Health Departments and hospitals, require police and fire services and eventually will be enrolling in our schools. He completely ignores the fact that the greatest impact of illegals, “unaccompanied children” for the PC crowd, is upon local public education systems.

I taught at a high school in Colorado where 15% of the student population were illegals. I witnessed firsthand the negative impact over caring for these students in the classroom. Don’t get me wrong, I loved my students – all of them.

My history department even tried to address this problem by ordering Spanish language worksheets to accommodate these students. Unfortunately, many were unable to read Spanish – they were functionally illiterate at the high school reading level in their primary language. The extra attention they needed often took away valuable instruction time intended for the entire class.

Educational research overwhelmingly points out high student/teacher ratios have a negative impact on the academic success. If illegal students had been eliminated from my high school, the average class sizes would have dropped up to 20% throughout the school.

How much cost has Hamilton County been forced to absorb for providing the array of services required by these students? Do the funds magically appear?

Instead of these funds going to the special needs of illegal students, it could be used to reduce class sizes further, help disadvantaged students or those needing remediation. HCSD opens its doors to all who enter without question.

Do we even know how many illegal immigrants are currently attending our schools? How much is the HCSD budget impacted annually? Regardless, the tax burden rest upon the taxpayers in Hamilton County to provide this benefit.

I can certainly understand State Senator Gardenhire’s Christian desire “to do the right thing”.  But the central question remains – What is it he does not understand about the word “illegal”?

Tennessee and Hamilton County should not be forced to accept illegal border crossers.

I value Gardenhire and his public service and I have always been willing to listen to him and consider his opinions, but he was elected to represent his constituents, not follow his personal opinions.

This committee to review the handling of these illegal minors should not even exist. Gov. Lee should have refused them in the first place. They should be returned to their Immigration services points of origin. That would truly be as you say ‘more cost effective” over time.

Gardenhire seems to feel Tennesseans MUST do something about managing and caring for these illegal children at the state and local level.  Fact is, we DON’T and should not have to!

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5 thoughts on “Senator Gardenhire: Examine Your “Facts” On Illegal Immigration

  • June 15, 2021 at 4:46 pm

    The problem of “illegality” is one w/ an easy solution – legalize them. In other words, it’s a weak argument. So, is it the cost that is the objection? Provide some data, not an anecdote.
    Immigration, legal and illegal, is a big issue. We’d be better served by deliberation, hard analysis, not passion and anecdote… which, I think, was Gardenshire’s point.

    • June 16, 2021 at 10:42 pm

      Mr Kennedy, right now illegal immigration costs the state of Tennessee nearly $800M (based upon 2017 figures), and the nation over $200B (also 2017 figures). Legalizing people here illegally exacerbates the problem. It will be viewed as an incentive for more illegal immigrants to flood our nation. It cheapens, or dilutes, the privileges that comes with birthright citizenship. It drives up the cost of healthcare, housing, education, and just about every aspect of normal everyday life for already law-abiding citizens.

  • June 15, 2021 at 5:03 pm

    Does Tennessee have any “recall” laws? In other words, how to get rid of this person before he becomes a full fledged RINO?

  • June 15, 2021 at 6:20 pm

    When businesses have had to close, most which will never come back, who gets the jobs left, Americans or illegals? If everyone can’t get a job, the unemployment coffer will go broke. We will soon be the place they came from…..and broke.

  • June 16, 2021 at 5:09 pm

    Illegal Immigration is disaster unfolding in real time. I do not care what Mr. Gardenhire thinks or says. The decision to have an open border is the right of any one or all politicians. That decision belongs to the citizens of The United States. Illegal used to mean against the law. Criminals, drugs, terrorists and who knows what kinds of disease are being brought in every minute of every day. American tax payers are footing the bill for all of this and it is dead wrong. This activity must be stopped NOW! If this Nation stays headed in the direction it is for another 6 months it will be impossible to return to normal. Our Justice system has been weaponized against conservatives and our backs are against the wall. I fear all out civil war may be in the very near future. We must confront this NOW!


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