A Republican lawmaker in Tennessee on Tuesday proposed that the state round up any Syrian refugees currently living in Tennessee and return them to immigration centers run by the federal government.
State Rep. Glen Casada (R), chairman of the House Republican caucus, told The Tennessean that the state should activate the National Guard to stop Syrian refugees “from coming in to the state by whatever means we can.”
“I’m not worried about what a bureaucrat in D.C. or an unelected judge thinks,” Casada added. “We need to gather (Syrian refugees) up and politely take them back to the ICE center and say, ‘They’re not coming to Tennessee, they’re yours.'”
Numerous Republican governors have said that they will refuse to accept Syrian refugees into their state, but states do not have any authority to do so, experts say. The federal government determines immigration policy and does not need state permission to resettle refugees in any location.
When asked by The Tennessean if the state had the power to expel Syrian refugees from the state, Casada said, “Tennessee is a sovereign state. If the federal government is forsaking the obligation to protect our citizens, we need to act.”
Although many state Republican lawmakers have proposed barring additional Syrian refugees, Casada may not have much support for his plan to round up refugees currently living in Tennessee.
Tennessee Senate Majority Leader Mark Norris (R) told The Tennessean that he didn’t think it was reasonable to gather Syrian refugees currently living in the state and return them to federal immigration centers.
Only 16 refugees from Syria have settled in Tennessee between 1996 and July 2014, according to The Tennessean.
H/t Huffington Post