This past Tuesday, Bill Lee, the Republican Governor of Tennessee, stated that he had been told by agents of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) that the agency would be transporting “multiple busloads” of illegal immigrants to the state to wait on their time in court.
Lee stated that the agency informed him late Monday and called the situation “irresponsible.” It is still entirely unclear as to where these detainees will be housed or just how many are expected to show up, but Lee did confirm that they would be shipped up from New Orleans.
“We’ve been informed by ICE that they plan to release single adult detainees into Tennessee while they await court proceedings. This is irresponsible and a threat to the safety of Tennesseans,” expressed Lee in a statement. “It’s not compassionate to perpetuate a problem that leads to more exploitation and trafficking.”
Lee explained that he would push the Biden administration to entirely reverse course on the issue.
“This crisis is too big to ignore, and the only way to stop it is to secure the border,” he stated. “Placing the burden on states is not a solution, and we should not bear the brunt of the federal government’s failures.”
A pair of Republicans that represent Tennessee, Sens. Marsha Blackburn and Bill Hagerty spoke out to heavily condemn the plan, with Blackburn hurling accusations at the Biden administration of “trafficking illegal immigrants into communities across the country.”
Hagerty made reference to the deadly fentanyl being trafficked across the border and the total number of entirely unlawful crossings that have taken place in 2022.
“In the last year, nearly three million migrants have illegally entered the country — a population larger than the largest four cities of Tennessee combined — Nashville, Memphis, Knoxville, and Chattanooga,” expressed Hagerty. “This does not even include the number of ‘gotaway’ migrants who illegally crossed into our country undetected.”
Jonathan Skrmetti, the GOP Attorney General from Tennessee, stated that his office would be making sure to look into all available options to stop the plan from going into effect.
Tennessee was one fo the very few states that called for an extension to Title 42, a policy from the previous Trump era which gave power to the border agents to turn away migrants based upon various worries about COVID. The rule, which was slated to expire this past Wednesday, was issued an extension due to the Supreme Court stepping in to place a temporary hold on the currently slated termination.
Customs and Border Protection officials issued a warning to legislators that roughly 50,000 migrants were gathered and waiting to rush across into the United States once the end of Title 42 is announced.