Tennessee Farm Bureau Wants In-State Tuition For Illegal Immigrant Students

Tennessee Star - Top Story


The Tennessee Farm Bureau (TFB) is reputed to be the largest farm bureau in the country. Its mission statement is:

To develop, foster, promote and protect programs for the general welfare, including economic, social, educational and political well-being of farm people of the great state of Tennessee.

The American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF), is a non-profit organization with affiliate farm bureaus in all 50 states, including Tennessee. In 2016 the AFBF reported employing eighteen registered lobbyists. Among the services the AFBF provides is training new state farm bureau presidents.

In 2013, like the AFBF, the TFB issued a statement of support for the proposed comprehensive immigration reform bill that the Congressional Budget Office concluded a category of “legalization” for illegal immigrants currently residing in the U.S.

“The Tennessee Farm Bureau Federation is proud to stand today beside our friends with the Tennessee Chamber of Commerce and Industry and our fellow business families in support of S.744 the Border Security, Economic Opportunity and Immigration Modernization Act. We believe this bipartisan immigration bill is a balanced reform bill, it includes fair and workable farm labor provisions, and it will help ensure an adequate supply of farm labor.

After Congress failed to pass the 2013 bill, the AFBF joined with the Partnership for a New American Economy (PNAE) in 2014, and released an ad pushing for comprehensive immigration reform. They planned to place the ad in Washington D.C. taxis, the Reagan National and Dulles International airports, movie theatres in 16 key congressional districts, rodeos and state fairs.

The AFBF which says it is the “national, unified voice of the nation’s farmers and ranchers,” admits that “[a]t least 50-70 percent of farm laborers in the country today are unauthorized.” And claims that “[f]ew U.S. workers are willing to fill available farm labor jobs.” And further that, “[t]he impacts of an enforcement only approach to immigration would be detrimental to the agricultural industry. If agriculture were to lose access to all undocumented workers, agricultural output would fall by $30 to $60 billion.”

After returning from the 2016 American Farm Bureau Federation’s (AFBF) training for new state presidents, Tennessee Farm Bureau (TFB) president Jeff Aiken, who works a 900 acre family farm in East Tennessee, said that “[L]legislation, regulation and bureaucracy” would be the focus during his tenure.

The TFB has been supporting the Gardenhire/White bills providing in-state tuition for illegal immigrant students since 2015 and in August 2016, Aiken representing the TFB joined with representatives from TIRRC, Conexion Americas, Associated Builders and Contractors of Tennessee, the TN Area Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Dr. Ming Wang and the Bakery Cos., in the PNAE sponsored National Day of Action to “showcase new research on the positive economic contributions of immigrants in Tennessee and to highlight the critical need for immigration reform.”

During a 2016 interview with Aiken, it was noted that TFB supports the efforts of Gardenhire and White because it’s, “an issue that affects many farmers personally” and that, “we firmly support the opportunity for anybody that wants an education to get an education.”

Soros-funded  TN Immigrant & Refugee Rights Coalition (TIRRC) and Conexion Americas founder and director who serves as the Chairman of the National Council of La Raza and an anti-Trump Indivisible organizer, expressly acknowledged the TN Farm Bureau’s support of the in-state tuition bill.

Gardenhire’s bill was passed by the Senate Education Committee and was sent to the Senate Finance, Ways & Means Committee; it has not been scheduled yet for a vote.

White’s bill passed the Education Subcommittee which he chairs and is scheduled for a vote in the full Education Administration & Planning Committee on Tuesday.


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13 Thoughts to “Tennessee Farm Bureau Wants In-State Tuition For Illegal Immigrant Students”

  1. Mikki Worthington

    The bill provides In state Tuition fees to illegals but it does not pay for their collage. So, if a illegal student attending school in TN and is trying to get legal status wants to attend UT they would have to pay $31,390 (out of state fee) verses $12,900 (in state fees). They are not eligible for any state funded scholarship. I know students that fall into this situation. They would make great students and a added value to our workforce.

  2. Bill Carter

    I wonder how many illegals Jeff has working on his 900 acre farm?

  3. […] The Star has covered the developments surrounding the in-state tuition push closely, from state Senators White and Gardenhire’s repeated bill proposals to the Tennessee Farm Bureau’s outspoken support. […]

  4. Faye Yearwood

    I don’t want this I will cancel my insurance if you do this I won’t have my money paying for illegals

  5. SanJwks

    Being a long time member of Farm Bureau and having FB insurance for years, I will be looking for other insurance agency. While it may be a “feel good” thing, it is irresponsible to aid illegal immigrants… what do people not understand about “ILLEGAL” . There are many American LEGAL Citizens who would be grateful for the offer be extended to them. Farm Bureau will be a big looser on this one.

  6. Robert Alan

    This man should be tried and hung for treason. What The hell does advocating for more tax payer funded handouts have to with Tennessee agriculture? O that’s right, he wants to keep his illegal migrants fat off the dole.

  7. Dwayne Oxford

    Really figger the BIG farmers are behind this. The Monsatan Poison “farmers”. Got to their FB pages and put NO In-State Tuition For Illegal Immigrants!!

  8. shannon Powell

    I have 4 policies with TFB, i don’t support this. I will have to go else where. BTW, 50-70% of farm worker are unauthorized?? well, that’s illegal too.

  9. Cletus

    This is FUBAR….How much of the TFB clients in TN are true farmers? State Farm keeps sending me infro…..maybe I should look into it….

  10. Diane Buford

    This is absolutely unbelievable that we would allow this to go on in our state. Every policy holder in the State of Tennessee should cancel their policy with TFB. WE can certainly vote and get someone else to represent us.

  11. Ruth Wilson

    These “goals” and Tennessee Farm Bureau affiliations are UNAMERICAN activities. If you have “insurance” with this outfit, you better read this article closely.
    Thanks to the Tennessee Star for all the good investigative reporting done for this article. See how National Immigration REFORM was going to be BAD Legislation. What America needs is ENFORCEMENT OF GOOD OLD IMMIGRATION LAWS, already on the books.
    For God & Country

    1. Jerome Roth

      Thanks to you folks at the Tennessee Star for reporting this information about TFB, I was totally unaware. I have every intention to follow up on this with my agent here in Crossville and make appropriate adjustments. USAA, here I come if this turns out to be true.