Tennessee Governor Bill Lee (R) announced Tuesday that Immigration and Customs Enforcement informed him about plans to release an unspecified number of “single adult” illegal immigrants into Tennessee, Fox News Digital reported.
ICE’s plan to transport the “adult detainees” was not coordinated with state officials. Instead, the effort was organized by Tennessee Immigration and Refugee Rights Coalition, a non-governmental left-wing organization in Nashville that volunteered to assist with housing the illegal immigrants.
Lee told Fox News Digital, “We’ve been informed by ICE that they plan to release single adult detainees into Tennessee while they await court proceedings. This is irresponsible and a threat to the safety of Tennesseans.”
“Furthermore, we already have a national security crisis at our border, and the Biden administration’s attempt to revoke Title 42 will only incentivize more illegal crossings,” Lee continued. “It’s not compassionate to perpetuate a problem that leads to more exploitation and trafficking; 7,000 people unlawfully enter our country every day.”
Lee argued that the only way to stop the immigration crisis is for the federal government to secure the southern border. The governor urged the Biden administration to reverse ICE’s plan to send the migrants to Tennessee.
“Placing the burden on states is not a solution, and we should not bear the brunt of the federal government’s failures,” Lee said. “We are demanding the Biden administration reverse their plan for detainee relocation. In the meantime, we’re also discussing options with the Tennessee Attorney General and our federal delegation.”
Tennessee Attorney General Johnathan Skrmetti stated that state officials are “exploring all options” to prevent ICE from releasing migrants into the state.
“The lack of appropriate notice and the lack of transparency by both the federal government and its local partners means we must work quickly, but we are committed to ensuring the safety of Tennessee’s citizens,” Skrmetti stated.
On Tuesday, Tennessee Senators Marsha Blackburn (R) and Bill Hagerty (R) penned a letter to ICE’s Acting Director Tae Johnson demanding answers.
“We have learned that the New Orleans ICE field office has been working in coordination with the Tennessee Immigration and Refugee Rights Coalition (TIRRC), a left-wing immigration advocacy group, to bus these immigrants to Tennessee,” the senators stated.
“Given the previous instances of ICE busing immigrants to Tennessee without notice, we are very troubled by these new reports and request that you provide more information about this situation,” the letter stated.
Blackburn and Hagerty stated that ICE could send as many as 50 single adults per bus, with multiple buses arriving weekly.
According to ICE, all illegal migrants brought into custody have undergone a vetting process.
The agency told Fox News Digital that ICE “officers weigh a variety of factors when making general custody determinations, including criminal record, immigration history, community ties, flight risk, and whether the individual poses a potential threat to public safety. Noncitizens placed on ICE’s non-detained docket are enrolled in ICE’s Alternatives to Detention (ATD) program. ATD uses technology, case management, and other tools to manage noncitizens’ compliance with release conditions.”