Refugee Arrivals in Tennessee Increased 46 Percent Under Gov. Bill Lee in 2019, the Majority from High TB Burden Countries

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The number of resettled refugees who have arrived in Tennessee has increased 46 percent in 2019 during the 11 months Bill Lee has served as governor of the state.

Last week, Gov. Lee announced his unpopular and controversial decision to allow more refugees to be resettled in the state in 2020, even though President Trump’s executive order in September gave state governments the authority to say no to more refugees. The Tennessee General Assembly has filed a lawsuit in the federal courts arguing on Tenth Amendment grounds that the federal government does not have the right to resettle refugees in the state, forcing the state’s taxpayers to pay for the educational and social welfare benefits given those refugees.

That lawsuit is currently pending in the federal courts. Gov. Lee’s decision has the effect of undermining the Tennessee General Assembly’s case. During his time in office, Gov. Lee has not filed an amicus brief supporting the Tennessee General Assembly’s case.

Under Gov. Lee, refugees have been resettled in the state from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Burma (now called Myanmar), Somalia, Syria, Sudan, Iran and Iraq.

From the date of his inauguration on January 19, 2019 to Saturday, December 21, 2019 a total of 595 refugees have been resettled in Tennessee by the Tennessee Office of Refugees, an arm of the Catholic Charities Voluntary Agency (VOLAG) that is paid by the federal government for each resettled refugee, according to the Department of State’s wrapnets.org interactive reporting website.

Notably, the majority of arrivals (355) came from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, with the second greatest number of refugees (90) resettled in Tennessee during the 11 months Gov. Lee has been in office coming from Burma (now called Myanmar.) Both of these countries are on the list of 22 countries in the world with High Tuberculosis Burdens.

The number of refugees resettled in Tennessee during the 11 months of Gov. Bill Lee’s administration in 2019 is up 46 percent from the comparable period in 2018 – January 19, 2018 to December 20, 2018, when 405 refugees were resettled in Tennessee.

The 46 percent increase in refugee arrivals in 2019 in Tennessee during Gov. Lee’s tenure stands in mark contrast to the refugees resettled in the United States as a whole.

In fact, it is more than double the 22 percent increase over all in the United States during the same time period

In 2019, a little more than 27,000 refugees were resettled throughout the country from January 19, 2019 to December 21, 2109 a 22 percent increase from the 22,000 refugees resettled from January 19, 2018 to December 21, 2018.

The number of refugees resettled in the United States during that 2018 period was significantly lower than the annual cap for refugees set by the president, due to an emergency executive order signed by President Trump in January 2107 that stopped all refugee resettlement from “hot beds of terrorism” such as Iraq, Iran, Yemen, Liberia, Somali, Sudan, and Chad.

Overall, refugee resettlement in the United States under President Trump has declined significantly since FY 2016, the last full fiscal year under the Obama Administration, when more than 89,000 refugees were resettled in the country. Almost half came from countries subsequently designated by President Trump as hotbeds of terrorism.

During FY 2017, which began on October 1, 2016 and ended on September 30, 2017 – a little more than three months under the Obama administration and a little less than nine months under the Trump administration – refugee resettlement declined to 57,000 annually.

In FY 2018 it dropped to a little more than 22,000, but in FY 2019 it moved up somewhat to 30,000.

The president has set the cap for FY 2020, which began on October 1, 2019 at 18,000.

The concern among many familiar with the refugee resettlement program is that Gov. Lee’s announcement will make Tennessee a magnet for refugee resettlement, which is managed by VOLAGs seeking easily accessible destinations.

So while the total number of refugees resettled in the country is likely to continue to drop, the number resettled in Tennessee for the balance of FY 2020 is now likely to increase, due to Lee’s decision.

In the event President Trump is not re-elected in 2020, all of the Democrat candidates for president have indicated a desire to increase the number of refugees resettled in the United States to levels at or above the 89,000 annual level during the last year of President’ Obama’s administration.

During the 2016 presidential campaign, Democrat candidate Hillary Clinton said she wanted to increase the annual number of refugees entering the country to 200,000, with as many as 75,000 coming from Syria.

With a Democratic administration at the national level and Gov. Lee’s decision to open the doors of the state to more refugees, the number of refugees resettled in Tennessee during FY 2021 and FY 2022 could easily skyrocket from the 595 resettled during the 11 months of the Lee administration to well above the FY 2016 high, when 1,959 refugees were resettled in the state.

The top four countries of origin for refugees arriving in Tennessee during FY 2016 were the Democratic Republic of the Congo (565), Iraq (309), Syria (246), and Somalia (236).

You can see the breakdown of refugees resettled in Tennessee during Gov. Lee’s administration in this PDF below, which is organized by both country of origin and destination within Tennessee.

REFUGEE ARRIVALS IN TENNESSEE

January 19, 2019 to December 21, 2019

 

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Chris Butler is an investigative journalist at The Tennessee Star. Follow Chris on Facebook. Email tips to [email protected]

 

 

 

 

 

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30 Thoughts to “Refugee Arrivals in Tennessee Increased 46 Percent Under Gov. Bill Lee in 2019, the Majority from High TB Burden Countries”

  1. Jeff Murray

    We can’t even take care of our own; what possible rationale is he using?
    I’m sorry to say we elected a RiNO instead of a Conservative.

  2. Chitown Cap

    One Term Lee

  3. Concered for our nation

    Its important that every person that has a concern or complaint contact Bill Lees office. If you go online it has a contact email address. Send him your message and I advise you to be kind because a young staffer will be reading your comments. They keep track and they let the Gov. know what the people are saying and no they do not give him any bad language reports. Stay to the point and if you have a solution give it! Its one thing to have a complaint its another to give a helpful solution.

    His mailing address: Tennessee Governor Mailing Address: State Capitol, 1st Floor, 600 Charlotte Ave, Nashville, TN 37243.
    Tennessee Governor Contact Number: 615-741-2001 Leave a respectful message remember you are dealing with staffers no need to be rude.
    Official Website: https://www.tn.gov/

    Lastly, pray for our Governor and his advisors. He’s a man that is bombarded by voices, everyone is pulling on him. Yes he is responsible to choose excellent conservative righteous counselors which is what he ran his campaign on. However, he’s in a spiritual battle and its your prayers that will protect him from the lies he’s believing. As you pray for the president include and pray for our Governor so that things will go well for our state and nation.

    1. Dennis C

      I can’t REPLY as he is Governor in another state! So my message would be thrown away! Although anything he does will affect me in Ill-Advised, the second kingdom for the Democrap party. JB Prickster, the original pork barrel has just about single handling destruction of the American way here.

      “Lastly, pray for our Governor and his advisors. He’s a man that is bombarded by voices, everyone is pulling on him. ” Worse has happened to Trump, but he has stayed the course, something that Tennessee has forgotten.

  4. Clay

    We need to be farming right now for someone to run against him. What a major let down. He needs to go.

  5. PHYLLIS G MILLER

    I am sorry to say that I voted for Mr. Lee I won’t make that mistake again,
    TO bring refugees into our state and we can’t afford to keep our veterans and homeless
    taken care of. You were elected to take care of the people of Tennessee not refugees.

  6. Kitty Lenoir

    What is being done to let the governor know that we do not want more refugees in TN. The ones that are here are not assimulating into our communities. Lee’s only been governor a short time, but already lives in the blue bubble called Nashville.

  7. Timothy E Asher

    No more support for this Governor. Needs out ADAP. He’s putting his interest ahead of the people of Tennessee. Acting like a politician. Not someone working for we the people.

  8. Noel Nathaniel Singh

    Yes, Tennessee & Texas will be blue states by next election. Because these demonic Democrats are playing this game, these politicians from California and New York are encouraging their Democrats to move other red states and change these states from red to blue.

  9. J.Watson

    The added increase un population at a time when more and more middle class wage jobs continue leaving our of the U.S.. this is definitely policy for destabilizing and creating economic instability of communities and burden on the nations revenue which is not even able to pay on unsustainable debt in the trillions.
    Traitors in US policy making have to be left wing extremists for helping progress Communism in America by helping create economic instability and hardship on American born working families for the Communist agenda!!!

  10. […] RELATED: Refugee Arrivals in Tennessee Increased 46 Percent Under Gov. Bill Lee in 2019, the Majority from Hi… […]

  11. CHAR

    For those that voted for him, I hope you’re happy!!

  12. Pinky Conatser

    You lied sir..Tennessee is one of the poorest states in the country.We have children here that need help..Some go hungry .We need better government not more mouths to feed and house in which tax payers will wind up paying for.Take care of our people first.We don’t need more welfare free housing .But we could use free housing for homeless familys and vets .They should come first

  13. […] The Tennessee Star reported this week, the number of resettled refugees who have arrived in Tennessee has increased 46 percent in 2019 […]

    1. Jim H

      One and done Lee.

  14. Cindy D

    If he wants them here, then they should all live with him and he pays all their expenses. We can’t seem to take care of our own and this jerk wants to add more problems. Get him out. He is just like the rest, liar! Shame on you Bill Lee, karma is a b*tch and you will get what is coming to you.

    1. JC

      He will answer to God, no matter what. As will we all, but he did not do what is right in my opinion. I’m afraid he took the bait from the left. Very sad for TN.

  15. Mary Stevens

    Catholic and lutheran charities r getting rich off this.

  16. […] The Tennessee Star reported, the number of resettled refugees who have arrived in Tennessee has increased 46 percent in […]

  17. Megan Barry

    I could just kiss Bill Lee for bringing in more refugees.

    1. Don Richmond

      Please volunteer to have refugees live either with you or on your property. Either you’re all in or not.

  18. scary times

    It is a moral imperative to RECALL BILL LEE .. NOW !

  19. RobW

    We cannot help people around the world by importing their problems and thus destroying ourselves. They can only be helped by making America great as an exporter of freedom and capitalism. I knew this RINO would be a problem.

  20. RobW

    We cannot help people around the world by importing their problems and thus, destroying ourselves. They can only be helped by making America great as an exporter of freedom and capitalism. I knew this RINO would be a problem.

  21. Robert

    My question is this. Do these new arrivals want to become U.S. citizens and blend in with our culture? Have they had medicals before they were allowed to enter the country? What kind of criminal background do they have if any? Legal refugees and immigrants are welcome, illegals not so much.

    1. Ron Welch

      No, Robert, the criminal background check is only for Tennessee citizens to exercise their DECLARED RIGHT in the State Constitution to carry the means of armed self defense in our State. Oh, and that means presentation of a valid birth certificate too which, for some preferred people, is racist–THEY SAY.

      But what about “the rule of law”, “no one is above the law” AND, “the equal protection of the laws” (14th Amendment)??

    2. Nancy Perkins

      Good questions. I’m very concerned because of health and crime.

  22. Martha Brown

    Doesn’t The Congo have a lot of Ebola?

  23. Silence Dogood

    So I read that the governor said the number was 99 but I read above it was 595. Rounding error I guess. Bill Dunn claims it is about 2 families per county and being paid for by mostly Federal Tax dollars which of course is not real money. But I see billboards next to Tennessee highways from Second Harvest claiming that Tennessee children are going to bed hungry. Claiborne County still does not have a Hospital for those families. Veterans are not receiving adequate assistance with their unique mental, physical, and financial needs. Why do we need to bring folks from the Congo to Nashville when all those needs are so pressing? This is a money issue, mark my words. Someone is getting rich off of this scam. I thought it was an Obama/liberal scam. I see now, that it is a money thing that transcends party. “We have met the enemy…and he is us!”

  24. George Etta Taylor

    We don’t need more refugees schools are crowded roads need work traffic is horrible in state and how can we afford it? What are you doing I am very opposed and want vote for you again! George Etta Taylor in Chattanooga

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