Tennessee Senators Fear Little Can Be Done To Curb Illegal Immigration Within State

Photo: Senator Bo Watson (left); Senator Richard Briggs (right) ; Image Credit: capitol.tn.gov / Senator Bo Watson – Facebook / Senator Richard Briggs – briggsforsenate.com / Pixabay

The Tennessee Conservative [By Jason Vaughn] –

Following the conclusion of the Joint Study Committee on Refugees Issues meetings, two members relate they have little hope it is within the Tennessee Legislature’s power to curb the influx of illegal immigrants being relocated to the Volunteer State.

On Friday, June 18th, 2021 a committee, formed at the behest of House Speaker Cameron Sexon (R-Crossville) and Lt. Gov. Randy McNally (R-Oak Ridge), began a series of four meetings to study illegal immigration issues affecting the state of Tennessee.

Members of the committee told the Tennessee Conservative that any potential legislation recommendations would come following the final meeting (November 15th) and the final report.

We have followed up with all the members of the committee for an update.  However, only Senators Bo Watson (R-Hixson) and Richard Briggs (R-Knoxville) have responded to our inquiries at the time of publication.

The following is a series of our questions and their responses:

The Tennessee Conservative Given all the testimony you heard, what is your general opinion about the state of illegal immigration in Tennessee?

Watson – “The State is doing all it can to prevent illegal immigration, including, but not limited to, sending Tennessee National  Guard troops to the U.S. southern border.  But illegal immigration is primarily a federally created problem; so, calling on our federal legislators in Congress to take action has to be the major catalyst of the solution.”

Briggs – “Tennessee has an illegal immigration problem that is growing each year and costing Tennessee taxpayers more each year.  Tennessee is not in a crisis like the border states of Texas, Arizona, and California but it is becoming a bigger and bigger problem.”

The Tennessee Conservative Is Tennessee doing anything from a practical standpoint to actively curb, dissuade or prevent illegal immigration in our state presently?

Watson – “As the testimony revealed in the study committee sessions, the federal government controls the levers of immigration- legal and illegal. Tennessee is aggressively identifying when illegal immigration occurs and enforcing the law. We have prevented access to state and federal programs as much as the Constitution and the federal rules allow. In addition, we have committed Tennessee National Guard troops to our nation’s southern border, and we have shown a bright light on the issue for the public and our federal legislators to see.  Creating and maintaining public awareness that illegal immigration is not acceptable in Tennessee is essential to curbing and dissuading illegal immigration.”

Briggs – “In my opinion there is little we can do as a state. We of course do not have fences or border checkpoints for people entering the state. The crisis and where illegal immigration can be stopped is at the border.  That is a dereliction of duty of the federal government. There is a 287(g) agreement between the federal government and local governments to collaborate in enforcing federal immigration laws to apprehend and deport illegal individuals.

Other than the 287(g) agreements, there is little the state government can do since Immigration and Border Protection are federal responsibilities. We can request the refugee placement agencies continue to send reports on refugee placement but this is legal immigration. This is done already.

An area of concern that prompted the appointment of the committee was children agencies in the state accepting unaccompanied minor children arriving illegally at the border.  Tennessee had two agencies accepting these children. One has been closed. The other, Bethany Services in Nashville, still accepts children but only about 15-20 remained in Tennessee in 2020. We could require the child placement agencies to notify the Tennessee Department of Children Services for children placed in Tennessee, but it is not clear if this would conflict with federal law on releasing public information involving minors.”

The Tennessee Conservative What legislation, if any, will come from all the meetings and information gathering that has taken place?

Watson – “I don’t want to get out in front of the committee, so I cannot speculate on potential legislation at the moment.”

Briggs – “I believe the conclusion will be that the state is limited on what it can do.  I have not seen the final report but the above is my interpretation up to this point. I am not sure we will see any specific legislation which would curb illegal immigration into Tennessee.”

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In November, Representative Robin Smith (R-Hixson) told the Tennessee Conservative that she had submitted new legislation regarding illegal immigration issues in the state of Tennessee.

She recently told us that she met with Representative Dan Howell, who served as one of the two Chairs of the Committee, and that she had also met with legal services regarding the bill.

“There is a draft of a bill, but I am no longer in possession of that bill. It was my opinion that the committee members would be better positioned, after testimony, to take the draft and alter it to find a remedy,” Smith said.

Smith related to us that if no legislation is filed on behalf of the committee, she will return her bill to the drafting process.

“The draft I was looking at for a possible solution was to require identifying information to be part of the process of a minor’s temporary or permanent custody in a state licensed facility. Absent this official identifying information accompanying a minor to Tennessee, dental and/or biological testing (DNA) would be used,” Smith said.

NewTruth

Sexton and McNally tasked the “Joint Study Committee on Refugee Issues” to do the following:

• Evaluate the number of immigrant children being permanently relocated to Tennessee by the Federal Government.  

• Evaluate the number of migrant children being flowed into Tennessee and then being relocated to other states by the Federal Government.   

• Determine how to increase transparency from the Federal Government regarding its relocation of unaccompanied migrant children to and through Tennessee. 

•  Study the impact financially and beyond of the federal government’s relocation program on Tennesseans. 

After the conclusion of the committee meetings, the overall take-away was that the Federal Government is running their resettlement program with zero transparency and that even Tennessee’s Elected Senators and Representatives cannot get any answers from Biden’s Administration.

Citizen Journalist Anne Beckett, Tennessee resident and founder of the Tennessee Action Group, graciously covered all the committee meetings for the Tennessee Conservative and had this to say at their conclusion – “How does the committee intend to hit the ball when it’s not clear what or which (or who) they are to aim at?” 

She also stated that, “The committee is to be commended for digging in, that is, swinging at all the balls thrown at them, even if they do not know which one is in the strike zone.”

However, she expresses concerns that if the committee does choose to recommend any legislation, it may require “a sweeping gesture so broad as to potentially render it useless.”

Rush

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 “Tennessee Senators Fear Little Can Be Done To Curb Illegal Immigration Within State

  • December 10, 2021 at 5:09 pm
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    Ron Desantis says he will start busing illegals into Bidens state!! Sounds to me like a great plan for TN also. The dems want them here, let them take care of them.

    Reply
    • December 11, 2021 at 3:42 am
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      Since our Federal Government chooses to evade Immigration laws, nothing can be done. The “relocation tax payer dollars”targeted for Immigrants”should be allocated to the states to cover expenses.
      Funding: homeless shelters/housing, Soup kitchens, Food banks, schools and all should be able/ready to work immediately if they want something nicer, just like my grandparents did!
      There are so many low income US Citizens needing help: Senior citizens, displaced families, medical/dental/vision issues and
      the PANDEMIC!!!

      Reply
  • December 10, 2021 at 8:38 pm
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    You would never hear Florida leaders say, THERE IS LITTLE WE CAN DO”

    Reply
    • December 11, 2021 at 3:46 am
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      They have Stellar leadership but so many other states are having the same Immigrant problem.

      Reply
  • December 10, 2021 at 10:42 pm
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    There’s a ton of things that can be done if and when out legislators get the guts to do it. You start with arresting the people taking them in. Most police officers know who they are. Then you raid business and not only arrest the illegals, you arrest the owners. They can’t claim no knowledge because the didn’t E-Verify. If you keep up a heavy harassment of these people, you may not stop it completely but you’ll certainly put a dent in it. We have the legal and moral right to protect our state from invaders.

    Reply
  • December 10, 2021 at 11:03 pm
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    I completely agree with the two commenters above me. Ron DeSantis is working out ways to get it done. He is pushing back on the clowns in DC at every turn. 3 years ago I moved to the great state of Tennessee from communist shit hole of NJ to live in a RED state where I could live free and be around good solid people. I saw the conservative counties where I lived NJ get flipped by this same crap. Governor Lee, please step up and represent.

    Reply
  • December 10, 2021 at 11:49 pm
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    Have they heard of the National Guard and Law enforcement? Bus them to D.C. and Biden’s home state. More do nothing Politicians!!!

    Reply
    • December 11, 2021 at 3:49 am
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      I thought that from the beginning. Can you imagine if they filled all the DC hotels? Lol

      Reply
  • December 11, 2021 at 7:03 am
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    send them back to mexico

    Reply
  • December 11, 2021 at 3:42 pm
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    BS, STOP THE GOVERNOR FROM IMPORTING THEM! McNally has been a RINO since he was a LOWLY Legislator. Seems like Sexton follows in his foot steps. Meet the buses, planes, and send them back to BIDEN’S HOME STATE! WITH ARMED GUARDS, CONFISCATE THEIR MOTOR VOTER CARDS TOO. DO NOT GIVE HAND OUTS, OR PROVIDE HOUSING. NOT 1 DIME OF TENNESSEE TAX PAYER MONEY SPENT, EXCEPT TO DEPORT THEM. SAME GOES FOR REFUGEES.

    MY FREAKING GROCERY STORE HAS EMPTY SHELVES AND IT IS A BIG CHAIN STORE!

    Biden’s BBB bill has LTGBQ daycare in it. Lifesite reported on it. This is not Tennessee’s values. Biden’s ‘Build Back Better’ bill includes LGBT overhaul of child care, radical transgender projects – LifeSite
    https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/bidens-build-back-better-bill-includes-lgbt-overhaul-of-pre-k-funding-for-pro-trans-projects/

    Reply
  • December 12, 2021 at 2:43 pm
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    Sounds to me like we need to Replace our Representatives with real conservatives, we have useless individuals working for us it would seem.

    Reply
  • December 13, 2021 at 4:22 pm
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    gail i live in delaware and im a consertvative that is moving to tennessee delaware is all filled up with illegals they have turned delaware into a central american state we cant fit any more here . we see it first hand how they work,steal and cause alot of crime all the states around delaware have this problem and is why alot of people are moving to southern states except georgia the same thing is happening ther just like delaware companies love to hire them and if you complain they like to lock up people here for doing that hope it gives some insite to whats coming

    Reply
  • December 13, 2021 at 4:33 pm
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    just wanted to add one more thing this is the demonrats plan to overload southern states with illegals and other liberals to turn tennessee purple then blue for their own selfish reasons and to have more power . southern states are the only protection from liberal destruction of our country has and when that goes the only remedy may be civil war lets hope that doesnt happen

    Reply
  • December 13, 2021 at 4:45 pm
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    “The Tennessee Conservative –What legislation, if any, will come from all the meetings and information gathering that has taken place?”

    That indeed is a good question. Think beyond the box of this special study. Do you think that a US Senate responsive to the intrests of the 50 States would be nearly as tolerant of this egregious Federal failure/refusal to fulfill Constitutionally assigned responsibilities as is the current Senate which is dominated/controlled by K-Street lobbyists and the partisan political parties.

    TGA currently has a bill before it by which Tennessee can lead our Nation in restoring control of US Senate to the ‘….Legislatures thereof’ , namely the State which each Senator purportedly represents.

    Examine and support SB692/HB1527. http://www.capitol.tn.gov/Bills/112/Bill/HB1527.pdf

    Now is our opportunity to rectify the National mistake that enacted USC 17th Amendment

    Reply
  • December 20, 2021 at 2:01 am
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    This is ridiculous. Grow a pair Tennessee elected officials. Hello any of you elected officials know anything about FLORIDA? For goodness sake start paying attention to Ron Desantis- that governor is standing up for his residents ON ALL ISSUES but Bill Lee and Tennessee elected officials are sitting on their hands.

    Reply

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