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Tennessee sues federal government over refugees


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Oct 15, 2012
Tennessee became the first state in the nation on Monday to sue the federal government over refugee resettlement on the grounds of the 10th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

The lawsuit, filed on behalf of several state lawmakers Monday morning in the western district of Tennessee, alleges that the federal government has violated the 10th Amendment, which says the federal government possesses only the powers delegated to it by the U.S. Constitution and that all other powers are reserved for the states.

The charge that the federal government is not complying with the Refugee Act of 1980, based on the 10th Amendment, makes Tennessee's lawsuit the first of its kind. Other states have sued the federal government over refugee resettlement but on different legal grounds.

The nation continues to debate refugee resettlement and immigrant rights as it awaits President Donald Trump's new travel ban. The ban, set to take effect Thursday, bars travel for many people from six Muslim-majority counties and is considered by Trump's opponents to function essentially as a Muslim ban, although the administration denies this charge.

The lawsuit argues that the federal government has unduly forced states to pay for the refugee resettlement program. The federal refugee act was designed to create a permanent procedure for the admission of refugees into the United States.

The lawsuit asks the court to force the federal government to stop resettling refugees in Tennessee until all costs associated with the settlement are incurred by the federal government.

"Plaintiffs will suffer significant and irreparable harm unless this Court intervenes," the 15-page lawsuit states.

The defendants named in the lawsuit include the U.S. Department of State; Secretary of State Rex Tillerson; the Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration; the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; and the Office of Refugee Resettlement.

READ MORE: Tennessee Senate Majority Leader: Refugee resettlement lawsuit could be filed soon

The state's lawsuit is brought by the Thomas More Law Center, a Michigan-based legal group that has taken on several conservative legal causes in recent years.

The selection of the Thomas More Law Center came after lawmakers over whelmingly approved a resolution approving the lawsuit and after Tennessee Attorney General Herbert Slatery declined to initiate the case.

Organizations such as the American Civil Liberties Union of Tennessee and the Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition slammed the lawsuit, saying it will negatively affect the state’s refugee community and perpetuate a culture of fear.

Hedy Weinberg, executive director of the ACLU in Tennessee, said the legislature's decision is "not only very troubling, but unjust and wrong."

Stephanie Teatro, executive director of the immigrant rights coalition, said that amid the largest refugee crisis since World War II, the president has already brought the resettlement program to a halt.

"Not wanting to be outdone by the federal government, our legislature is proceeding with this extreme lawsuit in hopes of locking the door and throwing away the key," she said in a statement.

"Though this lawsuit is bound to fail in the courts, its very filing assures Tennessee's place in a very dark chapter of our country's history," she said. "But just as the courts will dismiss this lawsuit, Tennesseans will also reject this betrayal of our values and demand real leadership from our elected leaders."

Joining the lawsuit are Sen. John Stevens, R-Huntingdon, and Rep. Terri Lynn Weaver, R-Lancaster.

"The Constitution does not allow the Federal Government to force me as the elected representative of the 24th Senate District to implement federal programs while they sit in Washington insulated from the consequences," Stevens said in a news release.

Weaver, who helped push the resolution in the House last year, said the legislation was among the most important measures she's ever worked on.

"The only way we can get back to our constitutional beginnings and the intent birthed by our Founding Fathers is to go and take it back," Weaver said. "We are looking forward to linking arms with the Thomas More Law Center for the long haul to regain sovereignty for our great state."

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Nov 25, 2013
"The Constitution does not allow the Federal Government to force me as the elected representative of the 24th Senate District to implement federal programs while they sit in Washington insulated from the consequences," Stevens said in a news release.
Damn shame the legislature of the State of Tennessee doesn't have a voice in the US Senate as intended by the Constitution. Suing the federal regime in federal court isn't going to accomplish squat.


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Apr 1, 2010
Could be worthy of another batch of popcorn! Not to follow the suit but to watch how many states will act against Tennessee like California, New York and other libtard bastions of stupidity.