NASHVILLE — Following testimony by Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson before the U.S. House Homeland Security Committee on Wednesday, Senate Majority Leader Mark Norris (R-Collierville) said, “This is yet another wake-up call. We need prompt action to keep Tennessee safe both physically and fiscally.” Norris is sponsoring legislation in the Tennessee General Assembly calling for legal action in response to the federal government forcing Tennessee to spend state dollars on the Refugee Program. Senate Joint Resolution 467 also references the federal requirement under the Refugee Act of 1980 to consult with states regarding the placement of refugees before those refugees are placed within its borders.
In his testimony, Johnson said, “In all candor, I do agree that the refugee flow coming out of Iraq and Syria represents a potential opportunity for terrorist organizations to move its members into other nations for potential attacks…So I agree that there is that potential.”
Secretary Johnson makes the third Obama official to publically question the security of bringing additional Syrian refugees in just the past several weeks. Other similar warnings have come from NATO Commanding General Phillip Breedlove and FBI Director James Comey.
“This is why adoption of SJR467 is so important. It calls for legal action to help keep Tennessee safe; to declare our State’s right to consult with the federal government concerning placement of refugees within Tennessee without sufficient background information,” said the sponsor of the Resolution, Senate Majority Leader Mark Norris.
Earlier this month General Breedlove testified, “Members of ISIS were hiding among the flood of refugees entering Europe, taking advantage of paths of least resistance, threatening European nations and our own.”
During his testimony before legislative committees in December and last month, Tennessee Commissioner of Safety and Homeland Security, Bill Gibbons, confirmed that the federal government continues to give Tennessee the silent treatment. “To my knowledge we have not received any specific response to that letter from Governor Haslam to Secretary Kerry,” said Gibbons.
SJR 467 passed the State Senate on February 22 by a vote of 27 to 5 and is set for consideration in the House State Government Committee on Tuesday.