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Searching for ‘Tennessee solution’ to immigration

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Southerners are known for their hospitality but some members of Rutherford County’s legislative delegation want to make Tennessee less welcoming to illegal immigrants.

Tennessee has around 140,000 illegal immigrants, State Rep. Joe Carr said in a press conference Wednesday afternoon.

This is a problem he, along with State Sens. Bill Ketron and Jim Tracy, hopes to tackle with new legislation introduced on Capitol Hill.

Carr (R - Lascassas) introduced a comprehensive immigration reform plan Wednesday, which calls for a three-tiered approach to strengthen existing state law “in order for private businesses and state and local law enforcement agencies to have the authority to effectively deal with illegal immigration,” Carr said.

“By taking a comprehensive approach that targets three distinct areas of the law, we can bring the reform demanded by so many of our citizens,” Carr said.

The plan is comprised of three pieces of legislation, the “Lawful Immigration Enforcement Act” sponsored by Ketron (R - Murfreesboro), the “Eligibility Verification for Entitlements Act” sponsored by State Sen. Jack Johnson (R - Franklin) and the “Tennessee Lawful Employment Act” sponsored by Tracy (R - Shelbyville).

The Lawful Immigration Enforcement Act allows state and local law enforcement to determine the immigration status of an individual during a lawful traffic stop.

Similar to Nashville’s 287g program, it then requires law enforcement to detain and turn over illegal immigrants to Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

The Eligibility Verification for Entitlements Act authorizes state agencies to check the immigration status of individuals who receive state benefits and prohibits verified illegal aliens from receiving state entitlements.

The Tennessee Lawful Employment Act, or E-Verify biil, requires all employers to submit the social securities numbers of all new hires after Oct. 1, 2011 to the United State Department of Homeland Security for verification.

Currently more than 4,000 Tennessee businesses participate in the E-Verify system.

The E-Verify bill will penalize businesses for hiring illegal immigrants with escalating consequences with businesses losing their licenses after the third offense, Tracy explained.

“I think this is a common sense approach that gets things done,” Tracy said about the legislation.

But not everyone agrees. Tennessee’s chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union is preparing to challenge the laws should they pass.

“This in an unacceptable bill and should not pass in Tennessee,” said Hedy Wienburg, president of the state’s ACLU. “The ACLU will be prepared to file a lawsuit if it passes as it is today.”

Weinburg is particularly concerned about the Lawful Immigration Enforcement Act, bias in law enforcement and what may be used to define a lawful stop.

“This jeopardizes public safety by making local law enforcement de facto ICE agents,” she said. “It is not the best use of our resources.”

But Carr contended this is exactly what the state needs to protect its resources.

According to Carr, there are 140,000 illegal immigrants in Tennessee, as well as the 100,000-110,000 in the workforce and 25,000 in public schools across the state, which cost the state $550 million a year in public education and other entitlements with only $50 million offset by sales taxes paid by immigrants.

“They come for the jobs. They stay for the benefits,” Carr said.

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ACLU, Bill Ketron, Hedy Wienburg, Immigration, Jim Tracy, Joe Carr, State
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February 17, 2011 at 2:40pm

Just like the Great Land Rush of the 19th century, hundreds of thousands even millions of illegal aliens will be fleeing different States enacting policing laws. Idaho, Florida Utah, Missouri, Texas, North Carolina, Maryland, Tennessee, Minnesota and of course the great State of Arizona, who is battling for survival in the biased-oriented court system.,In swarms they will be loading their trucks, packing their families and leaving less hospitable locations. They are heading they think to other States with easy welfare pickings, with brought and sold legislators where the laws are not enforced. Even the cash strapped, Sanctuary State of California has numerous counties ready to embark with E-Verify, as a mandatory verification warning to foreign nationals you better not apply for a job here, as the business owner is unlikely to take the risk of losing his business license. Other States are introducing laws including the federal 287 (g) law to train local police in arrest and detain suspicious individuals on hold for ICE agents.

Secure Communities a program that expedites fingerprints gathered by local law enforcement agencies to the FBI and then through a federal (ICE) immigration database to identify undocumented immigrants. Over a thousand jurisdictions in 40 States and others ready to participate. All these enforcement programs cost millions of dollars, but it touches nowhere near the hundreds of billions of dollars extracted from your taxes to support illegal aliens. The border remains frighteningly open and their is no program to guarantee that foreign airline passengers will leave after their entry visa expires? American immigration laws have been mocked since the 1986 amnesty law by both the US Government and the businesses that hire discount labor. If their was a real effort by any administration to halt the illegal alien invasion, any illegal invader would be facing a felony, not a stupid minor infraction.

I joined the Tea PARTY as more and more taxes are being taken, to support the education, health care and other social welfare programs in pandering to the illegal immigrants. I am also an activist of the million plus membership of NumbersUSA pro-sovereignty organization, that allows free faxes to your resident State Representative or even the leadership in Washington. You can also contact your politicians through the Switchboard in DC at 202-224-3121. Their is a Pdf file "Illegal Aliens and American Medicine."that every American should assimilate. It will probably give you heartburn and the billions of dollars we are paying to support health care for illegal aliens, that should be going in the pensions of old American warriors, OUR senior citizens, OUR homeless, Our blind, our sick, handicapped and those citizens living in poverty. This is just part of the deception and collusion of our legislators, who have been corrupted by special interests. We should bring our military home from Afghanistan, Iraq and other support bases, and place them fully armed along the US border, Canadian border fully armed with orders to fire.

Illegal immigrant states like Texas New York State and Illinois's, specially in California and Nevada, has no real ID verification where there was massive voter fraud through absentee ballots use I truly believe.
February 17, 2011 at 3:11pm
The above is a very well-researched and thoughtful post. I make no apology to the ACLU when I say they are doing there best to generate income for a cry that is not in the best interest of the good, hard-working, tax-paying citizens of Tennessee.
February 17, 2011 at 5:33pm
Go Home and stay there.
February 17, 2011 at 7:29pm
illegal aliens come here for economic reasons we need to dry that up. We need a verifiable system that employers can use with ease. We need to prosecute employers who hire illegals and fine them heavily.But they need a verifiable system.
I agree we should bring our military home to protect our borders. As a former Floridian I can tell you illegals bring wages, property values down, health care, crime and property taxes up. Next time you hire someone think about it.
February 21, 2011 at 12:18pm
The most intelligent approach to this is the one in which there are significant penalties for employers who knowingly hire illegals, and there are a bunch of them that do. Everything from illegal day workers hired by contractors to the larger established businesses who take on illegals as cheap labor. Enforce e-verify and impose a stiff penalty for failing to use it. Take away the economic incentives and the entitlements. Remove the "anchor baby" provision as well. At least one parent must be a legal U.S. Citizen or no automatic citizenship. The 14th amendment was never intended to shield those who enter the country illegally and procreate for the 'right' to stay. Our states are going broke and we can no longer afford to carry an illegal population conservatively estimated at 12,000,000 plus. This is a no brainer.
February 21, 2011 at 12:39pm
Britannicus, I agree illegal immigration has become a national threat, both in terms of economics and national security. I also agree it is a threat that must be addressed with urgency and strength but I would hesitate to fortify our northern border with troops who have orders to "fire". Fire at who? Fire at what? By all means border officers and National Guardsmen should have the means and the unfettered legal authorization to vigorously defend themselves against armed incursions by drug gangs, "coyotes" and even illegal military incursions, which seem all to common on our southern border, but issuing orders to fire at any target (person) they deem as making an attempt at illegal entry on either border is extremely ill advised for a number of sound political and moral reasons.
February 22, 2011 at 7:34pm
Having lived in a border state I can only tell you that illegals cause terrible damage. but the greatest damage is caused by those who hire them. Those are the people we need to target.
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