WASHINGTON—United States Senator Bill Hagerty (R-TN), along with Senator Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) and Tennessee Governor Bill Lee, today demanded the White House and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) reverse their plan to release an unspecified number of single adult migrants into Tennessee due to continued inaction to secure the southern border.
“When I traveled to the border in April, Border Patrol agents told me that ‘the people don’t stay here and the drugs don’t either,’” said Senator Hagerty. “Today’s news underscores what I’ve heard from Tennessee law enforcement time and again, which is that our open border has turned every town into a border town. This has brought heartbreaking consequences to communities throughout America in the form of increased drug overdoses. It has strained resources for hospitals, schools, and local communities. It has also jeopardized our national security—with border crossers arriving from more than 160 different nations, a number of whom are on terrorist watch lists. 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. This does not even include the number of “gotaway” migrants who illegally crossed into our country undetected. Congress must take action to secure the border. It’s unfair to place the burden on Tennessee citizens and local officials to deal with this Administration’s self-inflicted failures. Yet shockingly, in spite of this ongoing humanitarian disaster, President Biden and Democrats in Congress have put forward a government funding bill that will only serve to exacerbate the crisis by increasing funding for resettlement operations while simultaneously ignoring that Title 42—Border Patrol agents’ last enforcement tool—is on the cusp of expiring. This is unacceptable. A nation without a border is not a sovereign nation. President Biden cannot ignore this crisis any longer.”
“Joe Biden’s border crisis has made one thing abundantly clear — every state is a border state, and every town is a border town,” said Senator Blackburn. “The Biden Administration is trafficking illegal immigrants into communities across the country, including here in Tennessee. Governor Lee, Senator Hagerty, Attorney General Skrmetti, and I will be utilizing all possible options to stop President Biden from trafficking illegal migrants into our state. Biden created this crisis by terminating successful Trump-era immigration policies, including Remain in Mexico and safe third country agreements. Tennesseans will not stand for this flagrant abuse of law and order.”
“We’ve been informed by ICE that they plan to release single adult detainees into Tennessee while they await court proceedings,” said Governor Lee. “This is irresponsible and a threat to the safety of Tennesseans. Furthermore, we already have a national security crisis at our border, and the Biden administration’s attempt to revoke Title 42 will only incentivize more illegal crossings. It’s not compassionate to perpetuate a problem that leads to more exploitation and trafficking. 7,000 people unlawfully enter our country every day. This crisis is too big to ignore, and the only way to stop it is to secure the border. Placing the burden on states is not a solution, and we should not bear the brunt of the federal government’s failures. We are demanding the Biden administration reverse their plan for detainee relocation. In the meantime, we’re also discussing options with the Tennessee Attorney General and our federal delegation.”