Republican state lawmakers like Rep. Mark White, Sen. Todd Gardenhire, Rep. Patsy Hazelwood, and others, have long been advocating for the interests of illegal aliens.
Not to be outdone, last year Tennessee’s pro-illegal-immigration lawmakers and enough Republicans including House caucus chairman Jeremy Faison, joined Democrats in advancing Biden’s agenda on illegal immigration by officially making federal work authorization the golden ticket for illegal aliens to settle in Tennessee.
GOP Sen. Shane Reeves and Democrat House member Bob Freeman convinced enough Republicans to help Democrats pass “The Workforce Expansion Act”. And of course, Bill Lee rushed to sign it into law. (consider that former Nebraska Republican governor Pete Ricketts recently appointed to take Ben Sasse’s seat in the U.S. Senate, vetoed a similar bill passed by his state legislature. Ricketts said it wasn’t fair to immigrants who followed the law to come to the U.S. Unfortunately, the foolish legislators overrode his veto).
The new law gives illegal aliens with federal work permits the public benefit of getting commercial and professional licenses.
In typical fashion, Tennessee’s lawmakers didn’t bother to consider the far-reaching implications of this new law or consider how it advances the left’s agenda on illegal immigration.
In fact, “The Workforce Expansion Act” rewards federal work permits being issued under a Biden immigration program that isn’t legal.
So using federal work authorization as “cover” to justify appeasing NFIB and the Tennessee Chamber of Commerce no longer passes the smell test.
Tennessee’s new law directly abets Biden’s border program granting parole to Venezuelan, Ukranian, Cuban, Haitian, and Nicaraguan migrants – a program which immigration experts note will continue to flood the country with “‘up to’” an additional 30,000 aliens per month (or 360,000 per year) into the United States without explicit authorization from Congress. Aliens paroled into the United States under these programs will be automatically eligible to apply for work authorization and can stay in the United States for up to two years.”
This program among others like Obama’s DACA program, violate U.S. immigration law meaning that illegal aliens are granted immigration benefits that Congress never authorized them to receive. Simply put, these groups of illegal aliens have no legal or lawful access to these benefits.
At the same time, GOP lawmakers focused on advancing the interests of Obama’s DACA grantees, have chosen to deliberately ignore the fact that these individuals also have no legal, Congressionally authorized immigration status. They are also ignoring the fact that in July 2021, a Texas U.S. District Court ruled that the DACA program was procedurally and substantively invalid and in violation of U.S. immigration law. This ruling was affirmed by the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals.
And yet, Tennessee’s state government voted to give the DACA illegal aliens a state public benefit.
It’s difficult to understand why Tennessee legislators support facilitating illegal immigration. In 2018, GOP Rep. Patsy Hazelwood tried to kill the anti-sanctuary city bill to protect crime committing illegal aliens from deportation and in 2015, Rep. Pat Marsh was glorifying illegal aliens as the “star athletes” and “star students” while he was voting to give them the public benefit of in-state tuition.
It remains to be seen when Rep. Mark White and Sen. Todd Gardenhire once again try to secure in-state tuition for illegal aliens. The big question on this issue is whether they will ignore another federal law that would require Tennessee to give in-state tuition to any U.S. citizen from any state if they give in-state tuition to illegal aliens. How would in-state tuition advocate former gubernatorial candidate now UT President Randy Boyd feel about the lost dollars?
When it serves their purposes Tennessee lawmakers defer to federal jurisdiction over immigration. But when they pass laws which gratuitously advance the interests of illegal aliens, they are effectively nullifying U.S. immigration laws. It’s bad enough that the Biden administration is doing everything in its power to side-step, over-ride and openly violate the immigration laws that are supposed to protect U.S. citizens, but why are Tennessee lawmakers helping Biden with that agenda?
Lt. Gov. Randy McNally who supports giving in-state tuition to illegal alien students is concerned that “we’re headed for a downturn in the economy”. And yet, he voted to make Tennessee more attractive to the cheap foreign labor awarded with Biden’s work authorization instead of protecting jobs for Americans and legal immigrants.
Former Chairman of The U.S. Commission on Immigration Reform, U.S. Congressman Barbara Jordan, a black Democrat from Texas, better represents Tennessee voters concerned about the impact of illegal immigration, than the current Republican super-majority Tennessee General Assembly.
Jordan was known for looking at illegal immigration through the lens of the “national interest”. As Chairman Jordan told a House committee in 1994, “for immigration to continue to serve our national interest, it must be lawful. There are people who argue that some illegal aliens contribute to our community because they may work, pay taxes, send their children to our schools, and in all respects except one, obey the law. Let me be clear: that is not enough.”
When will GOP lawmakers step up and follow Barbara Jordan’s lead?