Tennessee’s Attorney General has ruled that the state has no say over refugees resettled in the state:
In the opinion released Monday, Slatery notes that through the supremacy clause of the U.S. Constitution, federal law pre-empts any rules the state seems to put into place on refugees.
But Slatery said that nothing prevents the state from communicating its preferences and concerns about the refugee resettlement program to the federal government.
We all predicted this, and one would hope that recent acts of terror on the homeland perpetuated by our own right-wing extremists might put this “OMG THEY’RE MUSLIM” BS to rest once and for all. Right-wing extremism is the greater threat to Americans, but we can’t talk about that, can we? It’s not polite! Here in Tennessee, our politicians find it more expedient to deflect and demonize marginalized communities than take responsibility for the violence their own despicable rhetoric creates. I mean, I’m still waiting for Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey to tell women who are “serious about their healthcare” to get concealed-carry permits, right? But I kid, I kid.
So all that our Tennessee Legislature can do is tell the State Department that they’re a-skeered of those Middle Easterners, or, to put it more politely, they have “concerns.” You know what’s really sad? There’s a reason that so many refugees have traditionally been resettled in places like Nashville, Tennessee and across the South: it’s because of all the churches located here, and the support services that faith communities have traditionally provided, to help families resettle and assimilate into American life. I’ve mentioned this before, but many if not most of the groups facilitating refugee resettlement are Christian, and they work with local congregations! You know, Christians used to be known for helping people, not shooting up abortion clinics. Weird, huh?
Not everyone has taken leave of their senses. State Senator Jeff Yarbro — a Democrat, of course — wrote this column in our local newspaper, where he chastised his colleagues for their lack of common sense:
Rather than going through the 24-month refugee screening process, it’s far more likely that terrorists will enter the country on tourist, student or work visas. By virtue of having a passport, French and Belgian nationals can pretty easily board a plane and come to the United States.
We should make it harder for people with the intent to harm us to get into the country. But the rational response is to devote resources to more effectively screen those who can get here pretty easily.
Instead, the entire nation is focused like a laser on Syrian refugees — primarily widows and orphans — who are already subject to some of the most stringent security procedures we have. The U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill Nov. 19 requiring national security agencies to focus greater attention on refugees, thus redirecting resources that should be trained on more serious and imminent threats.
It’s like building a moat around your backyard while leaving the front door open.
What’s worse is that closing the borders to refugees makes it harder for the United States to lead the fight against ISIS.
I know Yarbro is a newbie in our State Senate, but can we send him to Washington, please? Rep. Jim Cooper sent me a letter in response to my angry call after he voted for the SAFE Act; it appears Cooper is still sticking with his “this just reinforces existing law” position. If that’s what he thinks, then he doesn’t need to be in Congress anymore.