Tennessee Republican wants state National Guard to ‘politely’ round up Syrian refugees
In an idea that sounds dangerously akin to American Japanese internment camps during World War II, a Tennessee lawmaker is suggesting the government round up Syrian refugees.
Tennessee State Rep. Glen Casada (R-Franklin) said Tuesday the Tennessee state National Guard should detain refugees residing in the state and send them off to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, according to the Tennessean.
“We need to activate the Tennessee National Guard and stop them from coming in to the state by whatever means we can,” he told the paper.
“I’m not worried about what a bureaucrat in D.C. or an unelected judge thinks,” Casada said. “We need to gather [Syrian refugees] up and politely take them back to the ICE center and say, ‘They’re not coming to Tennessee, they’re yours.'”
Casada’s call is more extreme than other conservative state legislators, who have vowed to bar refugees from settling in their states.
“Tennessee is a sovereign state. If the federal government is forsaking the obligation to protect our citizens, we need to act,” Casada told the paper.
According to documents reviewed by the Tennessean, only 30 refugees were settled in the state who were from Syria, however after settling in the United States, refugees are free to move to any state.
Casada is among other Republican Tennessee lawmakers who have taken advantage of the attacks in Paris to fear monger about people fleeing bloody civil war in Syria.
Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam sent a letter on Tuesday to President Obama requesting that no Syrian refugees be sent to Tennessee, though legal experts say states have no authority to make such a demand of the federal government.
“I believe we should take a long look at the entire refugee program and use any means necessary to stop refugees from entering Tennessee if they come from countries with ties to ISIS, Al-Qaeda and similar terrorist groups,” GOP state Rep. Jeremy Durham told the paper in a statement. “If the U.S. Supreme Court says the federal government cannot force states to expand their Medicaid rolls, I’m not sure how the federal government believes it can legitimately force Tennessee to accept refugees from countries with known terrorists.”
Casada’s is by far the most extreme.
“We’re better than this,” state Sen. Jeff Yarbro told the Tennessean. “After Paris, it makes sense to fear the violence being exported by ISIS. But giving in to fear, closing the borders and abandoning our allies is un-American, and ultimately will make our situation even more dangerous.”