Posted on April 14, 2016

Tennessee State Legislature on Track to Sue Federal Government over Refugee Resettlement

Michael Patrick Leahy, Breitbart, April 13, 2016

The Tennessee General Assembly is on track to sue the federal government over the refugee resettlement program on Tenth Amendment grounds after Senate Joint Resolution 467 cleared its last substantive hurdle in the Tennessee House Finance Committee.

The resolution sailed through the committee on a voice vote, and is now headed to the Calendar and Rules Committee, which will schedule a vote on the floor of the House of Representatives some time during the next seven days. The resolution is expected to pass in a landslide, as 74 of the House’s 99 members have already signed on as sponsors.

In February, the resolution easily passed the State Senate by a 27 to 5 margin.


It is now a virtual certainty that the Tennessee General Assembly will file the lawsuit in federal court, as the Thomas More Law Center, a well-respected conservative public interest law firm, has said it will represent the state of Tennessee at no cost, even if Tennessee Attorney General Herbert Slatery chooses not to litigate the case.


State Senator Mark Norris (R-Collierville), the sponsor of the resolution in the Senate, is rallying public support to encourage the state’s Attorney General to accept the resolution’s request that he consider filing the lawsuit. Should the Attorney General choose not to do so, the Thomas More Law Center, is ready to step in.


Norris has launched a website, , which contains a petition callling on the Attorney General to “sue the federal government to enforce its duty to consult with Tennessee concerning the sponsorship and intended distribution of refugees before placement in Tennessee.” The petition also cites the state’s Tenth Amendment rights, calling on the Attorney General “to prohibit federal coercion of state funding for refugee resettlement without lawful appropriation by the Tennessee General Assembly.”


Since the start of the Syrian crisis, an estimated 2,300 Syrian refugees have entered the United States through the refugee resettlement program. More than 96 percent of these refugees have been Muslim. Less than 2 percent have been Christian.

Halfway through the current fiscal year, the Obama administration has brought in 1,282 Syrian refugees, more than 7,700 short of its goal of 10,000 for the full fiscal year.

In Tennessee, which accepted about 1,600 refugees under the refugee resettlement program in 2015, 30 of whom were Syrian, the number of Syrian refugees admitted stands at 17 so far in 2016. That number is likely to increase to around 200 by September if the Obama administration’s accelerated vetting continues.