Tennessee's Suit Over Refugee Resettlement May Be Put On Hold If Trump Freezes Program | Nashville Public Radio

Tennessee's Suit Over Refugee Resettlement May Be Put On Hold If Trump Freezes Program

Jan 26, 2017

President Donald Trump's planned freeze on refugee resettlement could also put the brakes on a planned lawsuit against the federal government over asylum seekers.

Senate Majority Leader Mark Norris, R-Memphis, has pushed for the lawsuit. He says state officials should have a bigger role in deciding which refugees are allowed in.

But that was before the Trump administration developed a plan to suspend the refugee program. If no refugees are coming in, Norris says attorneys are trying to decide whether the state still has a case.

"It could mean that our standing is in question, depending on how long the moratorium lasts," Norris said Thursday. "What I may do is ask for a meeting with the new attorney general, with Jeff Sessions."

Republicans in the state legislature authorized the suit. They complain they haven't been told enough about individual refugees since Tennessee decided in 2008 to essentially outsource resettlement to private charities.

Norris says the suit could still be worth pursuing, in case refugee resettlement ever restarts.

Gov. Bill Haslam has resisted the litigation. He told The Tennessean Thursday that he remains satisfied with how the refugee program is run.