Tennessee Republicans Say Trump’s Refugee Vetting Proposal ‘Needed More Vetting’

Jan 29, 2017

Tennessee’s two Republican senators have more bad than good to say about President Trump’s Executive Order related to refugees and immigrants from Muslim-majority nations.

“We all share a desire to protect the American people, but this executive order has been poorly implemented, especially with respect to green card holders,” Sen. Bob Corker said in a statement. “The administration should immediately make appropriate revisions and it is my hope that following a thorough review and implementation of security enhancements that many of these programs will be improved and reinstated.”

 

Corker chairs the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and has said he has a direct line to President Trump, who has given out a personal cell phone number. 

 

Sen. Lamar Alexander says “this vetting proposal itself needed more vetting.”

“More scrutiny of those traveling from war-torn countries to the United States is wise. But this broad and confusing order seems to ban legal, permanent residents with ‘green cards,’ and might turn away Iraqis, for example, who were translators and helped save lives of Americans troops and who could be killed if they stay in Iraq. And while not explicitly a religious test, it comes close to one which is inconsistent with our American character.” — Sen. Lamar Alexander

As of late Sunday afternoon, Gov. Bill Haslam had not made a statement.

 

But state Sen. Steve Dickerson, R-Nashville, also said Trump went too far. He writes that immigrants and refugees have made the community stronger and “embody the American Dream to its fullest.”

 

“A full ban based on country of origin is contrary to bedrock American values and, in the end, will only serve to empower our enemies abroad,” Dickerson wrote on Twitter.

Nashville Democrats have come down hard against Trump’s actions on refugees.

 

“This arbitrary ban on individuals from certain countries entering the United States is wrong in every way,” Mayor Megan Barry writes in a Facebook post. “America must be better than this.”

Barry spoke at the protest outside the offices of Alexander and Corker making a similar point, but she was also asked by immigrant advocates whether Nashville would become a “sanctuary city.”

"We're not going to make our police immigration officers," she said as people in the crowd shouted, "we already are."

Barry has acknowledged that state law bars sanctuary cities in Tennessee and suggested voters should talk to state lawmakers about that. She also said Sunday she doesn't have direct control over whether the Davidson County jail cooperates with federal authorities, since they're controlled by another elected official, Sheriff Daron Hall.

"Help me with him," she told the crowd. "I think he wants to do the right thing, but that's his purview."