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Bill To Sue Feds Over Refugee Program Passes

Posted at 3:18 PM, Feb 22, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-22 22:22:05-05

The bill that would allow the Attorney General to sue Feds over immigrant resettlement has passed in the Senate.

The legislation called for the state to sue the federal government over the refugee resettlement program.

The Senate Finance, Ways and Means Committee overwhelmingly voted last week to sue the federal government  and ask a court to clearly define the state's rights when it comes to resettling refugees.

The bill passed in the Senate Monday 27-5.

A NewsChannel 5 videographer shot this video of the moment vote passed.

Sen. Green from Clarksville (R) said during legislature, "The Federal government has failed to protect us." 

Officials with the Tennessee Democratic Party released this statement after the vote:

“Tennessee Republicans would rather focus on national issues that are already settled instead of helping ordinary people of Tennessee. The time they spend pandering to special interests does nothing to help folks in this state put food on their table or send their kids to college. And refusing refugees who are in desperate need of place to seek shelter from war and hardship, or kicking them out as Chairman Casada once suggested, is not who we are. It’s shameful."

Also in response to the vote, the Co-Executive Director of the Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition, Stephanie Teatro, said in a statement:

"This a shameful moment for Tennessee. The Senate has just voted to close the door on refugees fleeing persecution. In the midst of a global refugee crisis, this resolution places our state on the wrong side of history. While the resolution's proponents hide behind weak legal arguments and insist this is just a "friendly lawsuit..."

Several refugees who were resettled in Nashville also attended the Ways and Means meeting to have their voices heard last Tuesday.