Loudon County commissioners this week went against Tennessee Republican Gov. Bill Lee and unanimously passed a resolution saying they want no more refugees in their county.
“Loudon County does not want to be forced into resettling additional poor and under-educated peoples who lack job skills and do not speak our language,” according to the language of the resolution.
“These refugees will stay on unemployment for several years after their arrival and compete for the same jobs as our already large number of SNAP recipients.”
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 reported, Lee cited his Christian faith as one of the reasons he decided to continue taking in refugees.
Commissioner Van Shaver, who put the resolution forward, told The Tennessee Star Wednesday that Lee is wrong from a religious standpoint.
“I would say I am as Christian as Bill Lee is, in my opinion, and I have an entirely different view of it,” Shaver said.
“We help other countries enormously with our tax dollars. That doesn’t mean we have to bring in all the refugees here to try to accommodate their needs before we accommodate the needs of our local population.”
Commissioner Gary Whitfield, meanwhile, said Lee and members of his staff should have done a better job communicating with the state’s local elected officials.
“I just feel like the governor’s office didn’t provide me with a lot of information from the governor’s office about what he was thinking,” Whitfield told The Star.
“I would very much have liked to see the governor’s thoughts and the reasoning as to why Tennessee should allow refugees to continue to come.”
The Loudon County resolution also says the area has a high population of illegal immigrants who have overcrowded their schools and their jails.
“English as a second language teachers are very expensive and have been added to our schools to accommodate Spanish speakers,” according to the resolution.
“We do not want to be forced to add more teachers speaking perhaps much rarer languages.”
County officials said in their resolution that they also fear the spread of contagious diseases such as tuberculosis.
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