Shelby County Democratic Mayor Follows Bill Lee’s Lead on Accepting Refugees


Shelby County Democratic Mayor Lee Harris is fine with more refugees in his city, and he sent a letter to U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo saying as much.

This, according to various Memphis-based news outlets, who noted that Harris is following the lead of Tennessee Republican Gov. Bill Lee.

Members of Harris’ office did not return The Tennessee Star’s requests for comment Tuesday.

As The Tennessee Star reported last year, Memphis and Shelby County officials have embraced illegal immigrants and are willing to defy state law to do so.

Shelby County officials said outright they would not cooperate with a Tennessee law that helps federal officials detain and deport illegal aliens. The state law took effect January 1 of last year, according to The Associated Press.

The law, The AP went on to say, “threatens local governments with the loss of future state economic and community development money” if they have sanctuary policies.

Federal immigration officials have the power to deport illegal aliens arrested on other charges. But some local laws have kept those local law enforcement officers from cooperating with the feds. The new law bans those local policies, according to The AP.

As The Star reported in 2018, county officials, specifically the folks at the county attorney’s office, tell their law enforcement officers to ignore the feds, especially Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

As for Lee, as The Star reported this week that the governor doubled down on his controversial – and unpopular – decision to say yes, rather than no, to more refugees in Tennessee during an interview with Nashville radio personality Michael DelGiorno.

In September, U.S. Republican President Donald Trump issued an executive order that enabled state and local governments to refuse resettling any more refugees in their states or localities.

As The Tennessee Star reported, Lee brought an early Christmas gift to leftists around the state. He announced one week before the holiday that he wrote Pompeo and invited the federal government to continue resettling refugees in Tennessee through voluntary agencies that take federal taxpayer dollars to do so.

This, even though even though Republican Lt. Gov. Randy McNally and Republican Speaker of the House Cameron Sexton said they disagreed with Lee’s choice.

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Chris Butler is an investigative journalist at The Tennessee Star. Follow Chris on Facebook. Email tips to [email protected]
Background Photo “Memphis City Council” by Thomas R Machnitzki. CC BY 3.0.





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11 Thoughts to “Shelby County Democratic Mayor Follows Bill Lee’s Lead on Accepting Refugees”

  1. StewInArizona

    Why do the democrats insist on trying to over ride our existing Legal immigration program? Acting like bleeding hearts isn’t going to keep Americans OR the immigrants safer than they would have been had they stayed in their home countries. We KNOW who the refugees and asylum seekers are and it has been determined that being house in or near their home countries where their needs in terms of health and language can be taken care of is best for them.

  2. John W Niven Jr

    For the record, Lee Harris is NOT Mayor of Memphis. He is mayor of Shelby County – the part outside of Memphis. And yes, this was a very bad decision.

  3. Pissed Off Nashvillian

    At least the refugees will be at home in a third-world setting.

  4. William R. Delzell

    Good for Harris! I’m glad some Tennesseans are standing up for Lee on this one issue. All decent Tennesseans need to make a public stand against the xenophobia and bigotry by right-wing Republicans on the refugee issues.

    Most refugees are decent law-abiding people who only want to flee dangerous and oppressive conditions in their homeland–many of which the U.S. with its foreign and military policies caused in the first place. Law-abiding refugees can provide a refreshing diversity and new vitality to the U.S. culture. Don’t forget that the U.S. has relied heavily upon refugees to perform essential jobs that no native white person wanted to do, they WANTED to learn U.S. history so as to pass the strict alien naturalization exams we give out for prospective new citizens, they served in our military to protect our country, etc. Don’t tell me that they are bums. We owe a lot to them, especially when unscrupulous employers hire them illegally to perform dangerous labor in dangerous working conditions!

    1. Silence Dogood

      At any point ever does the liberal democrat mind accept that tax dollars are not owned by the government to do with as they want? You lib’s are spending MY money on your pet projects. Your theories are not my theories. This is only about one thing to me: spending my tax dollars to do “nice” things. Stop it!! Spend your personal money Beatrice and William on helping these folks out. I have two son in laws underemployed and 4 grand kids needing winter clothes that need my compassion $$ this year. This country is $21,000,000,000,000+ in debt. Time to ask us how we want OUR money to be spent.

    2. Steve Allen

      William, once again your talking points are based a liberal dream world, not the facts of life. If you look at the reality of the statistics of the effects of unregulated immigration you will see that the burden placed on the economicies far out weigh the benefits. We can debate this issue to eternity but the fact that will be born out in the future is that this will be one of the tipping points that forever reduce the qualifier life in America .

  5. Steve Allen

    We must look five to ten years from now and use our image of the future Tennessee and America to guide the decisions we make today. It is NOT in the best interest of Tennessee or America to allow mass migration into our nation. This is not the 19th century, nor is there a lack of citizens in our Nation.

    For Governor Lee to encourage immigrants to relocate in Tennessee sounds more like a Democrat than a Republican. While legal immigration is one of the cornerstones of America, granting amnesty to millions of illegal aliens and allowing them to remain in America is an affront to those who legally immigrate here. I don’t know if all of the negative comment on this subject are referring to all immigrants or just those who would be forgiven through amnesty.

    For the Governor to encourage immigrant relocation to Tennessee is like trying to put out a fire by pouring gasoline on the flames. From what I have read the vast majority of immigrants support a socialist state and government control including free healthcare and government handouts. These people will vote Democratic and this is why the Donks are so in favor of unlimited migration and open borders. Unless you were blind you would have to see that this will change to political make up of Tennessee for the worse. I’ve heard it many times, allowing mass migration will improve the living standards of the immigrants. But unfortunately, it will lower the living standards of average Americans. The politicians who make these decisions (and all those clowns in Hollywood) are so wealthy that they are financially insulated from the us commoners, who will be forced to suffer the consequences of their bad decisions. This is not to say that all immigrates are minions of socialism, many learn how to embrace capitalism and become contributing citizens of America, but the majority will be a liability, not an asset.

    I suspect the governor is basing his comments on religious beliefs. This is a big mistake. As the saying goes….the road to hell is paved with good intentions.

  6. Beatrice Shaw

    This is truly a compassionate state. Sometimes I wonder if this web site is

    1. Wolf Woman

      @ Beatrice. Where is your compassion for our war veterans who need physical and psychiatric help? Where is your compassion for the disabled children of the poor? For the elderly in the rural areas who live with hardship and isolation and can’t afford decent care or transportation? For the elderly and poor in our cities who are getting pushed out of their homes due to higher real estate taxes and gentrification and those who can’t afford health insurance? Where is your compassion for those people who are citizens of our country and will now have to compete with these refugees for jobs?

      Do you not understand the U.S. is in debt up to its eyeballs? Obviously not because you want to incur even more costs by bringing in refugees who may or may not be from cultures that are in total opposition to our American freedoms. Why?

    2. Silence Dogood

      Giving my money away for things I do not want to pay for is not the Webster definition of compassion. It is called theft. And you have no idea what compassionate things I would do with that money, Beatrice. Refugee resettlement is not a compassion issue to most Americans, like it is to you. It is a permission issue.

  7. rick

    With this statement by the scholar Harris it should tell everyone the refugee decision is wrong, send all of the refugees to Harris and Memphis they should fit right in just more peope living off the federal government.