WASHINGTON—United States Senators Bill Hagerty (R-TN) and Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), along with U.S. Congressman Chuck Fleischmann (R-TN-03), have introduced the Migrant Resettlement Transparency Act, which requires the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) and Secretary of Homeland Security (DHS) to consult in advance with state and local officials of impacted jurisdictions regarding federally administered or funded migrant resettlement. It will also require the Administration to submit to Congress and governors a monthly, state-specific report regarding the resettlement, transportation, or relocation of illegal aliens.
“Tennesseans have a right to know if the federal government is resettling migrants in their communities,” said Senator Hagerty. “President Biden’s border crisis has turned every town into a border town, and the resettlement of migrants is an effect of that crisis that impacts citizens on a local level, placing new strains on schools, hospitals, law enforcement, and other emergency services.”
“Over half a million illegal aliens have been apprehended since President Biden took office,” said Senator Blackburn. “In Tennessee, the Biden Administration was caught using a Chattanooga airport to secretly traffic migrant children into the interior of our country without the knowledge or involvement of state or local officials. We have no idea where else this is occurring and communities have a right to know what is happening in their backyard. President Biden’s failed immigration policies have turned every town into a border town.”
“Federal transparency with state and local officials is always important in our republic, but it’s particularly critical during the ongoing crisis on the border,” said Congressman Fleischmann. “I’m proud to join with Senators Hagerty and Blackburn to address this issue and require disclosure from the federal government.”
Last week, Blackburn, Hagerty, and Fleischmann sent a letter to the HHS and DHS Secretaries requesting transparency after reports that the Biden Administration has been transporting illegal unaccompanied minors to Tennessee.
- According to recent news reports, at least four planes carrying unaccompanied alien migrants recently landed in Chattanooga, Tennessee, before being transported for apparent resettlement, with no transparency provided to state and local officials.
- Our nation is currently experiencing the most significant border crisis in decades, in large part due to the policies and misguided rhetoric of the current Administration. This crisis has resulted in untold numbers of migrants being shipped around the country and resettled all over the United States.
- This resettlement operation went around the explicit wishes of Tennessee’s Governor who, along with 19 other governors, had previously written a letter to President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris stating that the Biden Administration’s circumvention of state officials by contracting with private organizations to bring “a potentially unlimited number of unaccompanied migrant children into our states’ facilities for an unspecified length of time with almost zero transparency is unacceptable and unsustainable.”
- In the refugee context, federal law requires regular reporting to Congress and consultation with state and local officials regarding placement, and there is no reason why the same requirements shouldn’t apply in the case of illegal aliens—the education, medical, occupational, and emergency resources of local communities are impacted, and they deserve basic transparency and consultation.
- This legislation would require the Secretaries of Health and Human Services and Homeland Security to:
- Consult with governors and mayors of affected jurisdictions before any federally directed, administered or funded resettlement, transportation, or relocation of illegal aliens; and
- Submit to Congress and governors and make publicly available a monthly, state-specific report regarding resettlement, transportation, or relocation of illegal aliens that is federally directed, administered, or funded or that involves aliens subject to federal supervision pending immigration proceedings. The report must include:
- The number of aliens resettled, transported, or relocated, disaggregated by the number of single adults, members of family units, and minors, age, sex, and country of origin, and whether they are being resettled, transported, or relocated on a temporary or permanent basis;
- The methods being used to determine the age and familial status of such aliens;
- The types of settings in which such aliens are being resettled, transported, or relocated;
- The amount of federal resources being spent on resettlement, transportation, or relocation;
- Whether educational resources are being provided to such aliens; and
- Whether such aliens are being granted work permits, and if not, how they are supporting themselves.