Now, Polk County Opposes Bill Lee on Refugee Resettlement


The number of county governments in Tennessee who have taken or will consider taking a stand against Tennessee Republican Gov. Bill Lee’s refugee plan now numbers in the double digits.

This past week, Polk County commissioners passed a resolution to tell Lee they would not accept refugees. Polk is the 11th known Tennessee county to do so.

“The Polk County Commission passed the resolution acknowledging they would not accept refugees,” said former Polk County Commissioner Karen Bracken in an email to The Tennessee Star.

Bracken did not provide any more details.

“They too should be counted and acknowledged.”

On Thursday, as reported, Wilson was the 10th  county to express a desire to say no to Lee.

Members of the Wilson County Legislative Committee voted in favor of a resolution against the governor’s stance on refugees, which they will send to the full commission. Commissioners will likely consider the matter at their next scheduled meeting on January 27 at the Wilson County Courthouse.

Wilson County commissioners said Lee’s plan does not serve their area particularly well.

Committee members said they couldn’t believe Lee didn’t approach state legislators first before he decided Tennessee would continue to allow refugee resettlement around the state.

Other committee members stated they think of Lee’s directive as an unfunded mandate.

They said communities such as Lebanon and Watertown are already struggling to make it with what they have, and they cannot afford to take in more refugees.

As The Star also reported this week, officials in several other Tennessee counties have announced they either will or will likely oppose Lee’s decision to continue resettling refugees throughout the state.

Those counties include Bedford, Fayette, Dyer, Franklin, Stewart, Tipton, Cannon, Macon, and Loudon.

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 his reasons for taking in more refugees.

But as reported Wednesday, a Clinton-appointed federal judge issued a preliminary injunction halting Trump’s Executive Order 13888.

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Chris Butler is an investigative journalist at The Tennessee Star. Follow Chris on Facebook. Email tips to [email protected]
Photo “Polk County Courthouse” by Brian Stansberry. CC BY 4.0.





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5 Thoughts to “Now, Polk County Opposes Bill Lee on Refugee Resettlement”

  1. Phl Dedrick

    Attention Tennesseans,
    Friends, please, Your help is needed…Please sign and share this Petition, “Governor Bill Lee, reverse your decision”, to all of the Tennesseans that you know…We need at least 10,000 Tennessee Voters to sign it and make a big impact when this petition is delivered to Governor Bill Lee…For out of State people, please send this to all of your Tennessee friends and family…

  2. Concerned

    Since 2002, 18,655 refugees from 50 countries have resettled in Tennessee.
    This website shows the numbers of refugees resettled in each state and where they came from.

  3. Rhino

    Congratulations to the counties who are actually listening to their citizens. We need to take care of our own before anyone else.
    Like the old saying goes, a starving man cannot feed anyone else.

  4. J. Raspail

    Their number is like the sand of the sea.

  5. 83ragtop50

    Governor Lee really stepped in it with his decision to ignore what we citizens want to make him feel better about himself.