A top Tennessee lawmaker is suggesting that the National Guard “gather up” Syrian refugees who have been settled in the state.
“We need to activate the Tennessee National Guard and stop them from coming into the state by whatever means we can,” Republican Tennessee Rep. Glen Casada said in a phone interview with The Tennessean on Tuesday.
Casada, who is the chair of the state’s House Republican Caucus, said the federal government has no authority to force states to accept refugees against their will.
“Tennessee is a sovereign state,” he said. “If the federal government is forsaking the obligation to protect our citizens, we need to act.”
“I’m not worried about what a bureaucrat in D.C. or an unelected judge thinks. … We need to gather up [Syrian refugees] politely and take them back to the ICE center and say, ‘They’re not coming to Tennessee, they’re yours,’” he added.
So far, other lawmakers have not backed Casada’s plan to use the National Guard to send refugees to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). But Tennessee is one of at least 30 states whose governors have committed to opposing the White House’s plan to settle 10,000 Syrian refugees in the next fiscal year.
Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam (R) sent a letter to President Obama on Tuesday asking him to stop sending Syrian refugees to the state, pointing to Friday's terrorist attack in France, in which at least one assailant is suspected of entering the country while posing as a refugee.