The anti-sanctuary city legislation sponsored by State Sen. Mark Green (R-Clarksville) and State Rep. Jay Reedy (R-Erin) and passed overwhelmingly by the Tennessee General Assembly has been signed by Speaker of the House Beth Harwell (R-Nashville) and Lt. Gov. Randy McNally (R-Oak Ridge) and on Thursday was formally transmitted to the office of Gov. Haslam.
The governor arrived back in Nashville this morning from an overseas trip, so the ten day clock in which he must either veto the bill–testing Speaker Harwell’s resolve to call a special session of the General Assembly to override the veto–sign it, or allow it to become law by returning it to the General Assembly unsigned, has begun ticking. He also has the option of returning it unsigned before the ten days expire and allow it to become law.
Gubernatorial candidate Randy Boyd, a member of Haslam’s administration until he resigned to run for governor, is the only one of four candidates for the GOP nomination who has not yet taken a position on whether Gov. Haslam should sign the bill. This silence is in stark contrast to his recent television advertisements, in which he has portrayed himself as a strong opponent of illegal immigration in all its forms.
Today, the rubber meets the road for Mr. Boyd.
He must decide to either maintain his silence, thereby acquiescing to whatever actions Gov. Haslam may take on the bill, or step forward and demonstrate that the words of his anti-illegal immigration ads are backed up by the corresponding actions.
A veto by Governor Haslam of the new anti-sanctuary city legislation sitting on his desk, would align with the political platform on illegal immigration of the Partnership for a New American Economy (PNAE), a coalition led by big business leaders, like the CEOs of Microsoft, Disney and Marriott International, and chambers of commerce.
Past comments and presentations given by Governor Haslam reflect his alliance with NAE’s political platform as it concerns illegal aliens which stand at odds with the campaign promises he made when he first ran for office in 2009.
A veto of the bill would also meet the demands of the TN Immigrant & Refugee Rights Coalition (TIRRC) which has been waging an extreme disinformation propaganda campaign against HB2315, and pressuring the Governor for a veto so that criminal illegal aliens could be released into Tennessee communities instead of taken into custody by ICE.
A veto of the bill by Gov. Haslam, especially in light of his apparent silence on the issue, would further cast Randy Boyd, who is a named member of the PNAE and is the only GOP candidate to have issued no statement with regard to the actual bill, as a supporter of open borders and illegal immigration, a positioning he has attempted in recent months to change, at least in the perceptions of voters.
In addition, Boyd has yet to adequately explain his $250,000 donation to the Soros-affiliated, anti-Trump Conexion Americas that led rise to the nickname “La Raza Randy.”
Beth Harwell voted for this year’s bill and the one passed in 2009 as did Diane Black who was in the state Senate at the time. Black is the only candidate to have publicly urged the Governor to sign the bill. Bill Lee said if he was governor, he’d sign the bill.
The Partnership for a New American Economy (renamed to New American Economy, NAE), takes an open borders approach to economic growth by pushing a political platform that U.S. businesses must bring in more low-skill immigrant workers because they will do the “physically difficult work” that native-born workers are either unwilling or physically unable to perform.
The Nashville Chamber of Commerce and GOP gubernatorial candidate Randy Boyd are named members of NAE whose report, A Crucial Piece of the Puzzle, Demographic Change and Why Immigrants are Needed to Fill America’s Less-Skilled Labor Gap, claims that the U.S. economy can only be rescued with more legal and illegal immigrant workers.
NAE’s Tennessee specific report repeats the claim that Tennessee’s 129,000 “undocumented population” is a “small but critical role in the workforce.” The report’s 2014 data shows that in construction, 12% or 18,500 workers are illegal aliens and in the “accommodation and food” industry, 10% or approximately 13,122 workers are illegal aliens.
Groups in Tennessee like the TN Immigrant & Refugee Rights Coalition (TIRRC) and Nashville-based Workers Dignity advocate for the workplace rights of legal immigrants and illegal aliens. Nashville Workers Dignity, organized in 2010 to represent “wage theft” from low wage immigrant hotel cleaners, have expanded their campaign to include construction workers and are bootstrapping their menu of demands to the explosive growth currently being experienced in Nashville.
Workers Dignity, listed among TIRRC’s coalition members, hired a full-time organizer to head up a Neighborhood Defense Committee, the project launched by the TIRRC to shield criminal and non-criminal illegal aliens and obstruct enforcement of immigration law by U.S. authorities.
In March, Workers Dignity and Local 456 of the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades (IUPAT), teamed up with TIRRC to assist those seeking information from a new worker resource center opened by the union in Nashville. An “ICE Free Zone” flyer was reported to have been posted on the door of the center.
NAE made a big push for the 2013 “Gang of Eight” bill which would have granted legal status and work permits to most of the 11 million illegal aliens living in the United States. The NAE claimed this bill would help grow the economy and create jobs for Americans.
Even before the “Gang of Eight” bill was introduced in the U.S. Senate on April 16, 2013, Governor Haslam, spoke at Lipscomb University to the Latin American Chamber of Commerce “as part of Tennessee’s Partnership for a New American Economy.”
…as part of Tennessee’s Partnership for a New American Economy. That partnership is designed to bring together leaders from all political and economic sectors nationwide to raise awareness of what it sees as the economic benefits of sensible immigration reform.
This language comes from the NAE immigration materials that promote both legal and illegal immigration.
Earlier that year, a POLITICO article quoted Haslam on immigration whose response reflects the platform of the NAE:
Haslam, the governor of a deep-red state, also struck a centrist tone on the topic of immigration. When Martin asked about immigration reform, Haslam said he ‘actually would’ like to see a comprehensive immigration reform bill signed. He said he views the issue through the lens of economic development, and senses that there is the political will to move on the subject.
‘There’s some really tough issues [like amnesty],’ Haslam acknowledged. But, he added, ‘my sense is, from listening up here, I think this is one of the problems we can solve.’
Failed presidential primary candidate and never-Trumper Jed Bush also backed the “Gang of Eight” amnesty bill. Bush headlined a Nashville fundraiser for Boyd and Randy Boyd was an at-large delegate for him in the primary.
The NAE argues that low skill immigrant labor “help companies expand, creating more attractive opportunities for American workers.” However, the Federation for American Immigration Reform’s report says that “[r]esearch done by the Center for American Progress has found that reducing the illegal alien population in the United States by one-third would raise the income of unskilled workers by $400 a year.”
Similarly, a Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) analysis of Bureau of Labor Statistics employment data prior to the election of President Trump, shows that “virtually all of the net jobs created since 2000 have gone to legal and illegal immigrants as opposed to native-born citizens”… and that the “trends since 2000 challenge the argument that immigration on balance increases job opportunities for natives. Over 17 million immigrants arrived in the country in the last 14 years, yet native employment has deteriorated significantly.”
The CIS analysis of labor market participation of legal immigrants and illegal aliens in Tennessee reached a similar conclusion.
In 2015 Congressional testimony, Dr. Frank Morris, former Executive Director of the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, highlighted the negative impact of low skill immigrant workers on the Black American worker and disputed the myth that illegal immigrants were doing jobs Americans won’t do:
The false contention that ‘immigrants take jobs Americans won’t do’ would be correct if it stated ‘immigrants take jobs Americans can’t get.’ Contrary to popular belief, American workers are the overwhelming majority in all the major fields of immigrant employment — specifically construction, the services, and light manufacturing. The fact that 83% of all construction workers in America are American demonstrates how fallacious the immigrant employment myth really is. The use of illegal migrant workers in construction in lieu of young African American workers is a source of both frustration and despair in African-American communities.
It is now left to Governor Haslam to act on his own campaign pledges and in the best interests of Tennessee citizens, legal immigrants and legally present workers, or bend to the politics of the far left and the big business – cheap labor lobby.