By Anne Beckett [contributor to The Tennessee Conservative and founder of Tennessee Action Group]
The Tennessee Conservative broke a story of “migrants” coming into Chattanooga on April 9th, 2021. On June 21, the Joint Study Committee on “Refugee” Issues was formed. The committee was formed in response to an incident with “unaccompanied minors” that may be “illegal immigrants”, and then was tasked by Lt. Gov. McNally and Speaker Sexton to evaluate “migrant” children.
Let’s break this down.
A migrant is, “someone who is moving from place to place (willingly) usually for economic reasons (looking for work). It is a planned, temporary move (seasonal).
A refugee is, “someone who has been forced to flee his/her home because of war, violence or persecution.”
An immigrant is, “someone who leaves his/her home and moves to a foreign country with the intention of settling there.”
An illegal immigrant is one who by-passes the laws made for immigration. They have “not acquired documents before entering into a country,” and are not authorized.
So, who’s on first? Or in other words, how does the committee intend to hit the ball when it’s not clear what or which (or who) they are to aim at?
First, as it was rapidly ascertained, the minors coming into Chattanooga were indeed illegal immigrants. Never migrants. (A new “softer” term is used now: UAC’s- unaccompanied alien children. This is another misnomer as “alien” refers to all non-citizens or non-nationals including tourists).
The committee tried to address the transport of these illegal immigrants in and through Tennessee. And steadfastly encountered a total wall (pun intended): The federal “partners” refused to answer any inquiry into their various agencies from any of our law enforcement, governmental agencies or anyone from the Governor’s office. So much for transparency.
Now, when the federal government defies written law it is not conducting a legal operation. Why is Tennessee participating, which in fact is happening when it is not halted?
Several participants echoed words similar to Governor Lee when he referenced a faith based mandate to help the poor and needy. That is misdirected and a mischaracterization: helping the poor is a high calling, but Jesus looks at the heart, not just the act itself, and the intent of this unregulated surge is under serious question. It is not transparent, and is, therefore, not without guile.
Rather, it is to obfuscate. Buyer beware.
Any argument about saving children should address how the situation came about in the first place.
How is anyone getting to the border? A director of one of the refugee agencies reporting to the committee told a story of a 6-year old boy who made a “2,000 mile journey walking to the border” to unite with his mother who is also illegally in the U.S.
That is preposterous in every sense of the word. Who walks 2,000 miles? Or even 200 miles? The northern third of Mexico is the almost the size of Texas, and at least as dry and hot. Without road services or facilities. Hello?
This wave of intruders is obviously being financed and furnished with buses and planes for transport to our southern border. That evidence is rampant at the border. Our politicians can not claim ignorance because of a lack of coverage by mainstream media. They have access to and are responsible to know the truth.
Contrary to comments by Senator Todd Gardenhire including, “it does not matter how they (children) got here we are responsible for them when they are here,” we are not responsible for children who are sent ahead as bait and need to be returned to their homes and homeland.
Otherwise, Tennessee is fully complicit as a state in the atrocities as noted by Representative Chris Todd at the last hearing when he said, ”we are facilitating illegal immigration from the southern border.”
And what is happening to children once they get here? Senator Richard Briggs pointed out in the 2nd committee hearing, “this has all the hallmarks of trafficking: we do not know who is traveling (with the children), where they are going, or who is paying for it.”
Further, for the minor illegal immigrants that are being placed with sponsors or people who claim to be family, a high percentage disappear.
Second, while there are many hopes the southern border crisis will be temporary (migration), it has never been shown in any way to be about “war, violence or persecution” which is the case for refugees.
Yet, a significant amount of time was spent on refugee organizations which are well regulated, process people who have applied for immigration, includes an extended vetting process that typically takes 18 months and only admits a few hundred people a year according to all the reports given to the committee in the hearings.
So how will the committee address this as a “refugee” issue?
If these people are not refugees, and instead illegal immigrants (by any definition), then the federal government is not conducting a legal operation. Why is Tennessee participating?
The committee is to be commended for digging in, that is, swinging at all the balls thrown at them, even if they do not know which one is in the strike zone.
If the committee wants to recommend legislation, it may require a sweeping gesture so broad as to potentially render it useless.
Governor Lee has agreed to receive 415 Afghan “refugees” (We do not know what happened to the vetting process). Governor DeSantis of Florida has a better idea. Perhaps Tennessee should adopt his policy and end the discussion.
About the Author: Anne Beckett is the founder of Tennessee Action Group of Fentress County, a grassroots group dedicated to promoting the sovereignty of Tennessee and its citizens.