As refugees continue to flood into the U.S. and overwhelm state resources, many states are fighting back with lawsuits against the federal government’s refugee resettlement program.  

The program is responsible for the annual distribution of tens of thousands of third world migrants across more than 300 American cities and towns. the state lawsuits filed at this time, the state of Tennessee’s lawsuit may just be the most significant and pack the most long term punch.


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Of the state lawsuits filed at this time, the state of Tennessee’s lawsuit may just be the most significant and pack the most long term punch. The lawsuit filed by the state of Tennessee does not simply ask the federal government to do a better job of vetting refugees or to consult with state officials prior to resettling refugees within their borders at state expense like the Alabama and Texas lawsuits do.  Tennessee takes the lawsuit significantly further in that it actually challenges the federal government’s right to resettle foreign nationals of their choosing and the choosing of the United Nations within their borders at all.  Attorneys for the state of Tennessee contend that this refugee resettlement is a blatant violation of the 10th amendment and therefore an unconstitutional infringement upon Tennessee’s state sovereignty.

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The 10th Amendment states –


The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

The Tenth Amendment was included in the Bill of Rights to further define the balance of power between the federal government and the states.

Tennessee filed the lawsuit back in March 2017 and the U.S. Department of Justice filed a motion to dismiss immediately citing discrimination.  The DOJ stated that Tennessee was discriminating against refugees in seeking to stop the massive influx because the state was seeking to treat refugees as inferior to other immigrants.

Tennessee fired back stating “NOT SO FAST!” The state filed a 33-page answer on July 14, 2017, responding to the DOJ’s ludicrous assessment that the only reason the state felt compelled to file the lawsuit in the first place was because the federal government in its massive overreach was attempting to compel the state to grant refugees special powers and privileges not available to other immigrants and at the expense of Tennessee’s own citizens.

The state of Tennessee’s answer in short bills the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program as an unfunded mandate as the feds dump massive amounts of refugees on states without consulting the state or its citizens while expecting the state’s tax payers to foot the bill. Due to the influx of these foreign nationals, the state of Tennessee is expected to provide housing costs, education, healthcare, food stamps, and other additional services including the additional police protections required.

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Ann Corcoran of the Thomas More Law Center, a Michigan-based nonprofit, writes, “Elected officials have little say over the process [of refugee resettlement].”

Therefore the success of Tennessee’s lawsuit is paramount as it would successfully neuter the program rendering it ineffective by attacking its funding.

The lawsuit states directly regarding the federal government’s expectation of preferential treatment for refugees —

“Attempting to escape the fact that the refugee resettlement program is funded by the States, defendants erroneously lump refugees in with other lawfully present aliens and then assert that all of them are the responsibility of a State’s Medicaid program. This argument ignores the fact that the federal government has conferred preferential treatment on refugees, which leaves them situated more favorably than immigrants admitted through regular means.”

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Yet according to U.S. code 8 U.S.C. Section 1601(1) –

“[s]elf-sufficiency has been a basic principle of United States immigration law since this country’s earliest immigration statutes,” states the U.S. code 8 U.S.C. Section 1601(1), and thus other categories of lawful immigrants to the United States are required to make certain showings as to their financial self-sufficiency as a condition to immigrating.

And 8 U.S.C. Section 1182 (a)(4)(A) further states –

“Any alien who … is likely at any time to become a public charge is inadmissible.”

The Tennessee lawsuit further states –

(“[A]liens within the Nation’s borders [should] not depend on public resources to meet their needs, but rather rely on their own capabilities and the resources of their families, their sponsors, and private organizations.”) In contrast, the Refugee Resettlement Act imposes no such self-sufficiency requirement and mandates that refugees be deemed eligible for enrollment in Medicaid immediately upon arrival and for a period of up to seven years thereafter.

45 C.F.R. § 400.94(c) (“A State must provide medical assistance under the Medicaid and SCHIP programs to all refugees eligible under its State plans.”); See 8 U.S.C. § 1612(a)(2)(A)(i) (establishing seven-year limit).

As such, it is improper to say that refugees are simply another part of the lawfully present immigrant population for which states would otherwise be responsible. To the contrary, refugee populations are an economically disadvantaged population who are admitted to the country without regard to their economic status and who are allowed to immediately access welfare benefits.

In conclusion, that means should Tennessee succeed in its lawsuit refugee resettlement program would be terminated along with any sort of favored status for refugees under federal welfare laws.  It would also mean that refugees would no longer be eligible for admission with no consideration given to their economic consideration and no eligibility for Medicaid without a five-year minimum U.S. residency requirement just as any other immigrant would have.

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The suit emphatically and rightly states in accordance with the 10th amendment the federal government cannot constitutionally force “state governments to absorb the financial burden of implementing a federal … program” while the federal government takes “credit for ‘solving’ problems.”

Tennessee’s refugee resettlement program is operated by Catholic Charities.  The organization is one of nine federal contractors that the U.S. federal government pays more than $2,000 for every refugee they resettle in U.S. cities and towns. The resettlements are carried out devoid of any required input from any elected city representatives, who answer to local taxpayers.

Since the Refugee Act of 1980 was passed under the Carter administration there have been more than 3 million refugees permanently resettled in America from dozens of Third World countries. More than 90% of these refugees entering the U.S. are hand-selected by the United Nations.

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