Biblical Bill is planning to put Tennessee actively into the federal program and have the U.S. Office of Refugee Resettlement approve his plan. That’s why this NON-transparent Governor made his consent for refugee resettlement “valid for one year” and that’s why his administration’s minions won’t give a straight answer when asked about it.
First there was the picture and information about Secretary of State Mike Pompeo spending the weekend with the Governor and his wife working on refugee issues. Not long after this, one of his advisers disclosed that “classified and confidential” information is involved.
What’s not clear in the timeline is whether Pompeo’s visit came before or after Lee’s pastor was in D.C. talking up Bill’s plan. (rumor has it that the pastor has been spending quite a bit of time in D.C.).
There is speculation that Lee’s plan lets him wear two hats – one as the state’s chief executive and the other as the state’s chief evangelist showing deplorables that he can live his faith using the state government and his Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives. Lee’s plan is likely to model itself after the system worked out in Texas between the federal refugee contractors and individual members of religious congregations. Remember, Lee has talked in terms of what he and his wife have done for refugees through their church.
But since there is nothing in federal law which mandates that states resettle refugees, it’s reasonable to ask the Governor why he is demanding that all Tennessee counties prepare to receive refugees.
Is the Governor even aware that Wyoming has no history of bending its knee and state budget to the federal refugee program? Has he wondered at all why the federal government hasn’t forced that state to take refugees?
Every time one of Lee’s folks – appointed, self-appointed, or his hired office staff – talk about how under the Governor’s plan the number of refugees would be about 350 – 400, what they are really saying is that they have no idea how this program actually works.
It’s true that Trump’s 18,000 refugees divided by 50 (as in states), is about 360 per state. Except that’s not how refugees get placed – just read the relevant government documents. Then there’s the matter of the 10,000 other category of refugee-like entrants called SIVs that Lee hasn’t bothered to mention. This is the kissing cousin category which Marsha is trying to add onto with Syrians and Kurds. (Note here that Marsha’s bill was amended to cap the number of Special Immigrant Visas at 400 for her pet group).
Until Lee was elected, Tennessee was a sovereign state with a representative form of government. Then Lee consented to paying both the state and federal costs to resettle refugees and decreed that counties must defer to the state which he defined as himself.
Lee’s die-hard courtiers and some tone-deaf legislators insist that the Governor’s consent for refugee resettlement is merely a “disagreement” between what voters heard him say during the campaign and his plan for refugee resettlement across the state.
Actually, it’s the same decision that Democrats Phil Bredesen and Karl (Marx) Dean would make – they just wouldn’t have waited as long. These guys may have lost the election, but their policies on refugee resettlement are being put firmly in place by Lee.
(Gov) Bill #1 would be so proud of him.