Gov. Lee, Senators Blackburn and Hagerty Demand Biden Administration Reverse Plan to Release ICE Detainees in Tennessee

Tuesday, December 20, 2022 | 12:16pm

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Today, Tennessee Governor Bill Lee and U.S. Senators Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn) and Bill Hagerty (R-Tenn) 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.

On Monday afternoon, Gov. Lee’s office was notified of the Biden administration’s intent to transport multiple busloads of single adult detainees from ICE facilities in New Orleans into Tennessee, beginning as soon as this week. Federal officials have not shared any further details. The Governor’s office continues to push back on the plan.

Gov. Lee: “We’ve been informed by ICE that they plan to release single adult detainees into Tennessee while they await court proceedings. 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.”

Sen. Blackburn: “Joe Biden's border crisis has made one thing abundantly clear — every town is a border town and every state is a border state. 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 them 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 disregard for law and order.” 

Sen. Hagerty: “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.’ 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.”