Funny how candidate Lee said a statewide policy on transgender bathrooms would be divisive and should be left to local decision-making, but permitting federal resettlement contractors to operate in any county they choose, was his decision alone to make.
Even though Governor Lee said he consented for the whole state for continued initial resettlement of refugees in Tennessee, President Trump and the Department of Justice have clearly said otherwise.
The DOJ has written explicitly in their legal brief objecting to the federal contractors’ lawsuit to enjoin the President’s Executive Order:
“Section 2(b) of the Executive Order further requires the Secretary of State to develop and implement a process by which the State’s and locality’s consent to resettlement is ‘taken into account to the maximum extent consistent with law.’” Specifically, if either a State or locality has not provided consent to receive refugees, then refugees should not be resettled within that State or locality unless the Secretary of State concludes, following consultation with the Secretary of Health and Human Services and the Secretary of Homeland Security, that failing to resettle refugees within that State or locality would be inconsistent with the policies and strategies established under the Refugee Act… or other applicable law.”
But the DOJ and President Trump didn’t expect that Bill Lee would act like king for a day and claim that his consent to continue importing refugees, would take away any decision-making authority given to a local government by the President’s EO.
So why should local governments in Tennessee take the time to formally register either their CONSENT or NON-CONSENT for refugee resettlement?
- Unlike Bill Lee, the President respects the opinions and positions of everyday working American citizens.
- Ensuring that local governments have a say in what goes on in their community is the foundation of Trump’s America-first agenda and all of his efforts on the issues involved with both legal immigration like refugee resettlement, and illegal immigration.
- The President’s Executive Order, the Funding Notice which operationalizes the EO, and the DOJ’s legal brief explicitly and repeatedly emphasize the role of local governments to voice their preferences about receiving and supporting refugees.
- The President’s Executive Order says that “with limited exceptions, the Federal Government,”…”should resettle refugees only in those jurisdictions in which both the State and local governments have consented to receive refugees under the Department of State’s Reception and Placement Program.”
- The practical effect of Bill Lee’s statewide consent, is that counties are now in the position that if they don’t formally OPT-OUT, they will remain subject to Lee’s statewide consent.
- The State Department has not decided yet whether no action/silence on the part of a local government will be considered a consent or a non-consent to receive newly arrived refugees. So non-consenting counties would be wise to get a letter or resolution of non-consent to the State Department as they start to decide where resettlement activity will be allowed.
BTW, it’s being reported that the Governor is claiming “executive privilege” in order to hide information and other documentation related to his all-encompassing mandate for his fiefdom to receive arriving refugees.
Now it’s really getting interesting.