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Powers addresses immigrant influx

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By State Rep. Dennis Power

As you are probably aware, our nation has seen an unprecedented number of unaccompanied children illegally crossing our southern border into the United States. My own office, in Nashville, has been inundated with calls and emails from my constituents expressing their concern and worry regarding this issue. I wanted to provide everyone in my district with an update of how my office and the Tennessee Legislature will be handling this issue.

The Tennessee Legislature has a tremendous amount of compassion for these children, and it is unfortunate they have been put into this position.

My office has been in regular contact with the Speaker of the House, Gov. Billl Haslam’s administration and with the Department of Safety and Homeland Security regarding this issue.

At this point, no unaccompanied children have been brought into Tennessee nor are they scheduled to be.

In the states where the children are being taken, they are being held at federal facilities. Here is a statement from Governor Haslam’s Office regarding this issue:

“The governor is very concerned about the unaccompanied children border crisis. It was a major point of conversation at the National Governors Association conference meeting with HHS Secretary Burwell. At this point, Tennessee has not received and is not scheduled to receive any of the unaccompanied children to raise. But the governor is adamant in his position that this is a major issue for our country and that the Federal government has to step up and address it.”

Let me reiterate that while we sympathize with those children who are forced to leave their home and family and taking a dangerous journey from their country to ours we must also respect and keep our current laws.

I have never been in favor of or supported amnesty for illegal immigrants. I believe it is inherently unfair to give legal status to those whose first actions were to break our laws. I oppose any efforts to pursue amnesty for those who have broken our laws.

I support those who want to live here and go through the proper legal processes to do so. During the last Legislative Session I opposed legislation that granted in-state tuition prices to students who could not confirm their citizenship and residency in our state. I also supported Public Chapter 120 which allowed the state to confirm legal status through the Eligibility Verification for Entitlements Act.

I will continue to do all I can to protect our rules of law and oppose those who break them.

This is a major issue for our country and the federal government must address it.

The administration, including the Department of Safety and Homeland Security, are keeping the Legislature informed and my office is in regular contact with them. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact my office at 1-800-449-8366, ext. 13335 or the Department of Safety and Homeland Security.

State Rep. Dennis Powers (R-Jacksboro) represents Tennessee’s 36th District which covers Campbell and parts of Union and Anderson counties. Email him at rep.dennis.powers@capitol.tn.gov.