Tennessee sues feds over refugee resettlement: report

Tennessee sues feds over refugee resettlement: report
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Tennessee on Monday sued the federal government over its refugee resettlement program there, according to a new report.

The lawsuit makes Tennessee the first state to bring such a case on the basis of the 10th Amendment, The Tennessean said.

The Tennessean said the suit argues the federal government violated the amendment, which states it has only the powers given to it by the Constitution, with all other powers belonging to the states instead.

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The lawsuit — which was filed on behalf of several state lawmakers Monday morning — argues that the federal government unduly forced states to pay for its refugee resettlement program.

The case further charges that the federal government is not complying with the Refugee Act of 1980, which is based on the 10th Amendment.

“Plaintiffs will suffer significant and irreparable harm unless this Court intervenes,” the 15-page lawsuit filed in the Western District of Tennessee states.

“Operation of the federal refugee resettlement program commandeers Tennessee’s funds through Medicaid with the threatened loss of nearly $7 billion, amounting to 20 percent of its overall state budget – money that is needed fund services that are critical to the health and welfare of countless Tennesseans."

The Tennessean said Monday’s suit was brought by the Thomas More Law Center, a Michigan-based legal group that has often championed conservative legal causes in recent years.

The defendants named in the suit include the State Department, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, the Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Office of Refugee Resettlement.

Tennessee state Sen. John Stevens (R) and state Rep. Terri Lynn Weaver (R) also joined in the suit’s filing.

“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 statement Monday.

Monday’s lawsuit asks the court to stop refugees from resettling in Tennessee, the Tennessean said, until all costs related to settlement are paid for by the federal government.

The federal government has appointed Catholic Charities of Tennessee with administrating the state’s refugee resettlement initiative, it said.

Catholic Charities reportedly resettled just over 2,000 refugees there during the 2016 fiscal year after its start last October.

The Tennessean added the majority of those refugees are not from the six countries impacted by President Trump’s temporary travel ban.

Trump’s measure, which is set to take effect Thursday, imposes a 90-day freeze on visitors from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria, Sudan and Yemen, as well as a 120-day ban on refugee resettlement.

Critics have charged that the ban is unconstitutional and biased against Muslims, as the targeted countries’ citizens predominantly practice Islam.