Tennessee Legislators Urge Biden Administration to Cease Importing Migrants into the State


Since reports of migrant children landing in Chattanooga emerged over the week, Tennessee’s legislators are urging the Biden Administration to cease importing migrants. In a press release, Senator Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) announced that Senator Bill Hagerty (R-TN) and Representative Chuck Fleischmann (R-TN-03) joined her in a letter to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary (USDHS) Alejandro Mayorkas.

It is apparent from the letter that Tennessee’s leaders at both the federal and state levels have been left in the dark on the Biden Administration’s orders concerning migrants. The legislators asked Becerra and Mayorkas to answer whether the federal government is using Tennessee as a central location for resettling unaccompanied alien children.

“For months, reports have detailed how thousands of children are being housed in neglectful conditions at mass shelters operated by HHS under a veil of secrecy. We are deeply troubled by the lack of transparency and accountability regarding the conditions that HHS is subjecting these children to,” read the letter. “The citizens of Tennessee are entitled to more information. After all, their schools, hospitals, and law enforcement agencies will bear the burden of this reported resettlement, which is the product of an ongoing border crisis that is making every town a border town.”

In the accompanying press release announcing the letter, Blackburn said that President Joe Biden’s policies are not only putting the migrant children at risk, but Tennesseans as well.

State legislators have expressed alarm as well. In a statement to The Tennessee Star, State Senate Majority Leader Jack Johnson (R-Franklin) asserted that the Biden Administration’s immigration policies are insane.

The Biden Administration must act immediately to end these flights, secure our borders and restore sanity to our nation’s immigration policy. Senate Republicans have long been opposed to unrestricted and uncontrolled immigration and refugee resettlement. Tennessee’s General Assembly was the first in the nation to file a lawsuit against the federal government over refugee resettlement. It is imperative our nation get control of our borders and properly vet those coming into our country and settling in our communities. The Biden Administration’s rapid rollback of President Trump’s immigration policies puts every state and every community at risk. It must end.

Chattanooga House members told The Star that they were alarmed, too. State Representatives Patsy Hazlewood (R-Signal Mountain), Robin Smith (R-Hixon), and Esther Helton (R-East Ridge) said in a joint statement that the Biden Administration is jeopardizing the security of this state and the migrant children.

Tennessee has always embraced and continues to welcome those who come here legally. President Joe Biden’s disastrous immigration policies, however, have harmed the security of the American people and now his administration is attempting to conceal a humanitarian crisis. It is disgraceful that unaccompanied migrant children are secretly being dropped off in Chattanooga with little thought and no plan for their care, safety, or well-being. We ask the President to fulfill his sworn duty as commander-in-chief and act immediately to secure our borders.

Tennessee filed a lawsuit against the federal government in 2017. The legislature sued the U.S. Departments of State (DOS) and HHS, and their respective secretaries, for forcing Tennessee to cover refugees’ health care under Medicaid. Tennessee argued that the DOS and HHS were violating the Tenth Amendment because they forced the state to pay for a federal refugee resettlement program using state treasury money.

Last year, the Supreme Court refused to consider Tennessee’s lawsuit.

WRCB reporters first discovered that migrant children were being imported into the state. As The Star reported, their reporters spotted multiple airplanes carrying migrant children from the southern border land late at night at Chattanooga’s Wilson Air Center. From there, the children were loaded onto a collection of buses.

One of the bus companies told reporters that they were under a contract with the U.S. Department of Defense. They shared that they also picked up flown-in migrants from Georgia and Alabama.

Earlier this month, Lee issued a letter to Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris urging them to quell the border crisis. 19 other Republican governors signed onto the letter.

“The crisis at our border is too big to ignore, and it’s spilling into ALL of our states,” said Lee. “I have led a joint letter with fellow Republican governors urging the Biden Administration to take immediate action at America’s southern border.”

It appears that Biden and Harris ignored the letter. Instead, they flew migrants into states – apparently, without legislators’ knowledge.

Upon learning about the migrant children initially, Blackburn said that she was blindsided by news of the transportations.

“Our office has received no information from the Biden Administration informing us of a mass transportation of migrants to Tennessee,” said Blackburn. “It is absolutely unacceptable if the Biden Administration is facilitating a mass migration without any input or oversight from Tennesseans and the affected communities.”

The Star asked both Blackburn and Lee if the state planned to take any other actions to curb, mitigate, or reverse these migrant transportations. Neither responded by press time.

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Corinne Murdock is a reporter at The Tennessee Star and the Star News Network. Follow her latest on Twitter, or email tips to [email protected].






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9 Thoughts to “Tennessee Legislators Urge Biden Administration to Cease Importing Migrants into the State”

  1. Ms Independent

    Tennessee legislators and Mr Lee were so he**bent and focused on taking away federal unemployment benefits this fiasco snuck in the back door!! Both of these are BAD for Tennesseans. Reverse your decision Mr Lee on unemployment benefits. People are hurting who have lost their old jobs forever. It takes time to find a replacement suitable job / especially if you are older

  2. rick

    China Joe and Heels Up Harris don’t give a damn they are following orders to increase the democratic voter base, legal or illegal does not matter how.Their stated orders: Increase the democratic voter base, keep the Communist, I mean Democrats in office, we need voters! Its that simple!

  3. 83ragtop50

    The immediate answer to this unwanted and illegal trafficking of illegals is stationing armed National Guardsmen on the tarmac preventing the scum from Washington dumping bodies on us. The next and immediate step is a federal lawsuit filed with a conservative judge to get an immediate injunction to stop the trafficking.

    Lee needs to get off his butt and do something about this. Slatery never will do anything so Lee is going to have to do it. But I am afraid that “compassionate” Bill Lee will never do that. Funny how he is compassionate about foreigners but not for Tennessee citizens.

  4. Kevin

    Oh so much to comment on here! First, in general, we’ll see where all of these “sunshine” Republicans are when we take back the House in ’22. They’ll be right back to their old ways of living high on the hog off of our tax dollars!

    Second, so NOW Marsha and Bill whine but when we needed them to stand strong, like on January 6th, they were hiding under their gilded desks in their gilded offices. Nope, I’m done with them!

    Third, we seem to have plenty of State of Tennessee resources for catching two bit drug dealers and indicting the local Dog Catcher for embezzling 50 bucks. Maybe take some of that 2 billion dollar surplus, and focus State resources on stopping the real crime, the theft of our nation!

  5. Dave Vance

    If we had a Governor and AG worth anything they would intervene! I’m not wild about Federal lawsuits but they should at least file one and try to stop this. Just because the federal government is breaking the law doesn’t mean our state has to let a private airport get away with it. Shut them down! And shut down any state licensed business that assist the federal government in breaking the law!

    1. Cannoneer2

      Yes! Well said!

  6. Some Dude

    The current FEDERAL-LEVEL Democrat Party Administration is trying to artificially alter Tennessee’s current voting standards, by sending these illegal immigrants into Republican areas. (and other states, as well)

    The country is going downhill FAST. And I’m bought Kgs of hard gold and 100 oz bars of silver (and some perforated silver sheets, too) when the last metal price drop happened, to prepare. Hard metals always have their intrinsic value. Crypto is a toy construct that relies entirely upon everyone agreeing to play with the toy. It exists in a temporary fictitious bubble.

    EXACTLY like The Dutch Tulip Bulb Bubble. And just like the million dollar tulip bulb… all crypto could fade away in a blink; given their very high iliquidity, and subjection to high transfer fees.

    Because… when the government runs out of money, the FIRST place they will go is… raiding all the cryptocurrency! WHAT IF… : All the world’s governments simply make crypto illegal; ownership or accepting crypto, as barter, results in federal crime and the loss of all property (both land and financial) and also life in prison. ~ What then? Is lots of crypto worth THAT much?

    I’ll play with my metals. Enjoy their odd heaviness. I can hold them. Use them as door stops. Well, I can also turn them into processors and solar panels. And in 1,000 years, they will STILL exist, and probably be useful, given both these elements’ unique physical properties.

    What can crypto do?
    ‘Nuff said.

    1. Ron W

      And also buy needed items that have useful value and be sold or bartered. I had a friend who, when I mentioned precious metals would retort, “beans and bullets, baby, beans and bullets!”

    2. Truthy McTruthFace

      > Crypto is a toy construct that relies entirely upon everyone agreeing to play with the toy

      so is fiat currency, including the american dollar that the fed is printing by the truckload every day