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Tennessee Committee approves report on refugee issues

Tennessee State GovernmentNashville, TN – The Joint Study Committee on Refugee Issues has approved a report that includes a series of recommendations related to refugee issues in Tennessee that could become the basis for future legislation.

The committee was formed by Lt. Gov. Randy McNally (R-Oak Ridge) and House Speaker Cameron Sexton (R-Crossville) in May of 2021 to investigate the federal government’s immigration program within Tennessee.
 
The committee heard testimony regarding immigration in Tennessee during four meetings held between June and November of that year. Those meetings culminated in the attached report, which includes a summary of committee activity as well as a series of policy recommendations.
 
Below is a statement by Rep. Bruce Griffey (R-Paris), who served on the committee.
 

Dear Chairpersons and Committee Members,

First, I would like to thank both Speakers of the General Assembly for their efforts to address the concerns of Tennessee about unaccompanied illegal alien children coming to Tennessee and being placed throughout the United States without any transparency to Tennessee.

Second, thank you to each of you for your leadership on this Committee. It was my pleasure and honor to serve on this Committee with each of you.

Third, I would like to offer two suggestions I submit the Committee should make as part of the final recommendations of the Committee based on the inherent risks these minor children face and the total lack of responsibility the current Federal Administration has shown regarding the invasion of the U.S. Southern border.

One, the State of Tennessee should immediately suspend any and all license holders involved with the placement of these children due to the complete lack of any follow-up to guarantee any of these children are not being used for illegal sex trafficking purposes. It is clear the State of Tennessee has no knowledge or way to determine what happens to these children after these placement entities (who operate on a financial incentive based on the placement of a child) send these children to a “family” or other person willing to “sponsor” them.


Two, Tennessee should immediate pass legislation to give DCS oversight, review and control as to the placement of any of these children that come into Tennessee – that should include home studies and case management follow-up. The costs to the State should be the responsibility of these “placement entities” or the federal government. Verification to ensure a child is not placed with any “sponsor” that poses a risk to one of these children is a duty we owe to these children. This irresponsible situation is the creation of the Biden administration but Tennessee has a responsibility to protect any child in our State.

Thank you.

Sincerely,

Bruce I. Griffey
State Representative House District 75

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