Governor Lee Is Wrong – Counties Don’t Have to Defer to Him on Refugee Resettlement

According to multiple reports, the very-much-on-the-defense Governor Lee claimed at First Tuesday that counties defer to the state’s consent for refugee resettlement. One attendee described Lee’s version as “the counties are at the mercy of the state.”

This is so NOT what the President’s Executive Order says and NOT what the State Department guidance says.

The EO and the Funding Notice which ORR says “operationalizes” the EO, say over and over and over and over again, that local governments have a role and a stake in deciding whether to have refugees imported into their counties.

The written guidance issued by the State Department Bureau of Population, Refugees & Migration says specifically that the State Consent Letter could “consent to initial resettlement for refugees only in certain counties” which Arkansas’ governor did. This strongly suggests that there would have been communication and consideration for concerns which counties might have.

Remember, Bill Lee rode his tractor in all those rural counties which he says he cares the most about, so he should know who to talk to about refugee resettlement there. He certainly knew who to pander to for votes.


Governor to county consultation could have happened if the Governor hadn’t been so insistent about imposing his personal agenda on the entire state.But he never bothered to ask the state legislature or county officials who have to open up the purse to pay for the Governor’s personal agenda.

Every public system and every state taxpayer in Tennessee is impacted by refugee resettlement. For example, take required language services. The Tennessee Department of Human Services must offer applications for food stamps and cash welfare (TANF) in Somali, Arabic and Spanish. They used to (and probably still do upon request), offer help in two Kurdish dialects, Bosnian and Vietnamese.


There are plenty of good reasons why counties might have something to say about federal resettlement contractors spreading their customers anywhere from 50 – 100 miles away from the resettlement office.

For example, since 2016, Tennessee has received 4,113 refugees which included 279 Bhutanese, 405 Burmese and 366 Somali refugees.

Demographic data from the State Department’s website shows that of the 11,627 Bhutanese brought to the U.S., 27% were under 14 years old and only 15% of the adult population attained a secondary school education level.

Of the 26,500 Burmese who were brought to the U.S. over 9,500 were under 14 years old, 426 were over 65 and only 20% of the adult population attained a secondary school education.

Of the 15,689 Somali arrivals, over 6,000 were under 14 years old and only 8% of the adult population attained a secondary school education.

Refugee students who enter public school systems and who don’t speak English require specialized English Language Learner (ELL) services. School systems must also hire translators to assist the parents. Many students lack regular formal education in their native language.

Even though the federal government mandates teaching English to students so they can access the education being provided, very little of the cost is funded by the federal government; the majority of the cost is funded by the state with a required local share.

And even though refugee students are the smaller part of the ELL population (wanna guess who the majority might be?), it’s the refugee students who bring the much larger number of different languages to serve. Not saying these students shouldn’t be taught, but the Governor has no business blindly imposing costs (which he isn’t even allowed to do under the state Constitution) so he can fulfill his Biblical and personal mandate.

Bill Lee believes he can force feed refugees into any county in the state he chooses, so counties would be wise to formally object if they disagree with the Governor. In the end silence may equate to acceptance. The EO, the Funding Notice, the State Department Report to Congress and even the Department of Justice response to the VOLAG lawsuit trying to enjoin the EO, repeatedly say that they really want to just try and put refugees in communities that want to support them.


14 thoughts on “Governor Lee Is Wrong – Counties Don’t Have to Defer to Him on Refugee Resettlement”

  1. Attention Tennesseans,
    Friends, please, Your help is needed! Please sign and share this Petition, “Governor Bill Lee, reverse your decision” out to all of the Tennesseans that you know…We need at least 10,000 Tennessee Voters to sign it and make a big impact when this petition is taken to Governor Bill Lee…For you out of State people, please send this to all of your Tennessee friends and family…

    We The People, The Voters, from Tennessee, call on our Governor, Mr. Bill Lee, to reverse his decision on the Refugee Resettlement Program.

    The federal Refugee Resettlement Program is operated today by the Global Left, the UN, Islam, and religious frauds. The goal is to Change America by Changing its People; and,

    We the people, the voters, consider the issue of resettlement of refugees from the Middle East and other illegal aliens to be a matter of the most urgent concern, as it involves vital issues of national security, terrorism, public health and public safety, and expenditures of public taxpayer funds; and,

    As a result, we are drowning in refugees who are destroying our Constitutional freedoms, overburdening our welfare system and posing a genuine national security threat; and,

    FBI Director Comey has declared the complete vetting of foreign (Kurdish, Syrian, etc…) refugees to be impossible, and Defense Intelligence Agency Director Stewart states ISIS will attempt direct attacks again in the U.S.; and,

    that enemy, the Islamic terrorist, is being allowed to live among Americans at the invitation of the United States Government; and,

    the funding for this program is taken from the Federal government and the economic burden undeniably rests with the citizen taxpayer for the refugees’ welfare to include: housing, healthcare, food, education, language courses, job training, legal and community support making this program unsustainable and unacceptable to the American worker; and,

    The Refugee Resettlement Program is bringing people into our state that can carry TB and all sorts of other diseases; and,

    We the people, the voters, strongly recommend that our Governor, Mr. Bill Lee take a leading role in refusing to establish havens here in Tennessee; and,

    the refugee who is truly fleeing for his life should be cared for in close proximity to his home country as it costs the American taxpayer twelve times the cost to resettle one refugee here as it would to shelter that refugee near his homeland; and,

    there has never been a time in the history of this country where the government of the United States has worked so diligently against the interests of the American citizen; and,

    the State of Tennessee Legislators and the Tennessee State Governor shall immediately pass a bill with a Veto Proof and if possible an Executive Order proof that halts and defunds the Refugee Resettlement program, until deemed appropriate, in order to bring about a more robust national security, and a healthy economy which seeks to put Tennesseans first, not refugees who have no vested interests in our State of Tennessee; and

    the State of Tennessee Legislators and Governor Bill Lee will act promptly and without delay to the wishes of the Voters of Tennessee.

  2. You have overstepped your boundaries. You need to rethink your decision to bring illegals into the state. That is unless you want to support them at your own expense and board them on your farm. They might make good workers for all your enterprises.

  3. Governor Lee,
    When you took your oath of office to be our Governor of Tennessee your mind should have changed automatically from “what do I want” to “what do WE want”, what is best for the PEOPLE of this state? Your mind did not shift to that change. You are still thinking you are the only one that matters and the only one making decisions and you are not. I voted for you and talked good talk for you to my family, my friends, my neighbor’s and church friends. We were all excited you won. We had great thoughts about our future together, decisions being being made and how our tax dollars would be best spent. Somehow you still thought you were the only one still making decisions. Got up one morning to find out that you had changed the rules where everyone could gamble. I doubt the church helped you make that decision. Now YOU have decided you can’t turn your back on many refugees. We have already taken refugees because you worked with them in your church but now you want to take more. The gambling decision is not going me anything but the refugees are. This state pays for everything, not you, not an organization within the state but tax dollars of the PEOPLE and you didn’t think that was important enough to ask. WRONG. Let’s rethink this. Every county should vote and let majority rule. BTW you have lost my vote and you most likely have lost a second term. You need to learn to listen.

  4. Lee will never get the vote of my family members again. He lied to us and we intend to make him a one term governor who is unwelcome by any decent person in this state.

  5. Governor Lee you have lost your second term of office, I just wish that you were out tomorrow. What a selfish man you are. This state does not belong to you. You are a servant of the people.
    Take care of the homeless citizens of our state before you bring in your personal choice of refugees for Tennessee taxpayers to support.

  6. Well, not only will I not vote for him again, but I now am considering changing my HVAC company to one of LEE Company’s competitors, not only just my household, but many of my friends and acquaintances are thinking big time of doing the same. Bye, Bye Bill Lee.

  7. Governor Lee, until you or your family are directly affected by an illegal alien, you have no idea what you are doing to your state, our state. An illegal woman caused my nephew to lose his leg. She pulled out of a buy here, pay here car lot, with no license, no insurance, talking on her cell phone and hit him while driving by on his motorcycle. She ran from the scene but was located and arrested. She was released by paying a one hundred dollar fine and given her car back to her. My nephew was not so lucky. His young life was changed forever by her lack of knowledge of our laws, and I’m being very generous here. When they come here and have a different set of laws than we do, I don’t want them here, and I’m not alone in how I feel. I voted for you the first time but I will not in the next election if this continues.

  8. I m not against refugees who have been throughly vetted. Afterall we all came from refugees. But I do feel the Governor should have consulted his constituents and have a plan for them. I do feel it should not cost the school systems they are enrolled in any money. The federal government should bare the total cost for their education and learning of the English language. I also there should be a way to tract the refugees and know where they settle. I do think the next time this happens the Governor needs to have a plan and inform his plan to his constiuents. When people dint know things they imagine things that may not necessarily be true. Talk to the people!

  9. We need to worry about our own citizens and needy people right here at home before we continue to create a bigger problem with more people. No vote from my family next election if this doesn’t change!

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