NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Governor Bill Lee has called for congressional hearings into why Tennessee is being used to transport unaccompanied minors.
1,111 unaccompanied minors, so far this year, have been released to Tennessee sponsors, according to the latest numbers from The Office of Refugee Resettlement.
“The Biden Administration is sending children into our state, and transporting through our state, and holding them in various places,” House Speaker Cameron Sexton said.
Sexton and Lt. Governor Randy McNally announced a Joint Study Committee to look at refugee issues Friday, saying transparency is needed.
“With President Trump I think you had families crossing the border, you didn’t have coyotes or smugglers dropping children rover the fence and running away and leaving 5, 6, 7-year-old kids at the border with no one around and just drop them and run,” Sexton said.
Thousands of migrants under former President Donald Trump’s administration were released in the state. Including in 2019, when 2,191 migrants were released.
“The same thing was done under former President Trump is [being] done under President Biden, but under President Biden, it’s a problem,” Rep. Yusuf Hakeem, District 28 said.
Hakeem, a Democrat from Chattanooga, the area where unaccompanied kids were being flown into, said legislative leaders and the governor are being inconsistent and playing politics.
“There’s no positive end game out of this. It’s just rhetoric that is being put forth for the benefit of some of their constituents,” Rep. Hakeem said.
The Committee to Study Migrant issues will not have any Democrats on it.
“Any decision that’s made impacts both citizens who are Democrats and Republicans, but they don’t see the need to include people who pay taxes just like they do,” said Rep. Hakeem.
“There’s other task forces that we put together this summer that will have Democrats,” Speaker Sexton said. “We’ve announced those in the last week or so. This one we went with this direction, doesn’t mean we’ll always do it this way.”
The Republican Joint Study committee is charged with evaluating the number of migrant children passing through or permanently relocated to Tennessee.