NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Lt. Governor Randy McNally (R-Oak Ridge) and state House Speaker Cameron Sexton (R-Crossville) are forming a joint study committee on refugee issues to investigate refugee resettlement and immigration in Tennessee.
The task force will investigate issues surrounding refugee resettlement — specifically related to recent reports of unaccompanied immigrant minors entering through the Chattanooga airport in the early hours of the morning.
A plane thought to be carrying unaccompanied migrant children in the custody of the U.S. government landed just before midnight Friday at McGhee Tyson Airport in Knoxville.
“When the federal government abdicates its responsibility to control our borders, states must step in. Through ineffectiveness, inattention, and incompetence, the Biden administration has allowed our borders to be overrun,” McNally said. “With this study committee, we reaffirm that there is a clear and compelling state interest in a sane immigration policy.
“Everyone coming into this country should be properly screened and vetted and there must be openness, transparency and communication between the federal government and Tennessee about how many refugees, migrants and immigrants are entering Tennessee, where they are coming from and where they are going.”
The joint committee will be composed of five members each from both the House and the Senate. State Sen. Dawn White (R-Murfreesboro) and Rep. Dan Howell (R-Cleveland) will serve as chairs of the committee.
The group is directed by the speakers to evaluate the number of migrant children permanently relocated to Tennessee, as well as those passing through the state. They are also directed to study the financial impact, as well as ways to increase transparency as it relates to the federal government’s migrant relocation program.
“President Biden campaigned on transparency; instead, his administration continues to withhold critical information from our elected members and our taxpayers about the resettlement of unaccompanied migrant children in Tennessee communities,” Sexton said. “We must have transparency to address the concerns raised by both members of the General Assembly and Tennesseans.
“I am in agreement with Gov. Lee not to accept any unaccompanied migrant children. I appreciate Lt. Gov. McNally, as well as all those serving on the study committee for their partnership in shining a light on the federal government’s secretive immigration practices.”