NASHVILLE, Tenn., (January 29, 2018) – Tennessee State Senator Todd Gardenhire (R-Chattanooga) is issuing a challenge to US Congressmen Steve Cohen and Jim Cooper to support President Donald Trump’s recently released immigration plan that includes a pathway to citizenship for up to 1.8 million individuals brought to the US as a minor child by an illegal immigrant parent or parents.
“It’s time for those who constantly demand protections for children to actually vote the same way and support Trump’s immigration proposal,” noted Gardenhire, whose legislative tenure includes an effort for those identified as “Dreamers” to pay in-state tuition at Tennessee’s colleges and universities. “Tennessee is about to find out if these men are serious about solving problems or are being led around by Nancy Pelosi to keep the issue alive for political points and division.”
Preceding the State of the Union Address on Tuesday, the Trump Administration released a proposed framework based on previously cited tenets of a bipartisan comprehensive approach to deal with an array of issues involving immigration. Four key components of the legislative initiative include $25 billion in funding for a wall system that uses a physical barrier where geography warrants, surveillance and patrol measures, a reduction in chain migration involving family-based immigration that currently extends to distant relatives rather than just immediate family, an elimination of the VISA lottery program that has been recently tied to criminal and terror activity and, finally, a pathway to citizenship for 1.8 million individuals identified as Dreamers.
“A very few of us have been willing to address the reality that these kids brought here by their parents need to be productive, not wards of the state by allowing them to pay in-state tuition to encourage education, not entitlement. The calls for bipartisanship and solving problems rings pretty hollow from those who are given exactly what they want with this pathway to citizenship but still refuse to support a proposal,” declared Gardenhire. “So, Congressman Cohen and Congressman Cooper, do you represent Tennessee or Ms. Pelosi?”
In a move that is a clear concession to Democrats, Trump is including in the bipartisan proposal the more-than-doubled request of 1.8 million Dreamers who would be eligible for a pathway to citizenship versus the requested approximate 800,000 as cited in previous negotiations on a bill. Details of the proposal will likely be a key topic of interest addressed in President Donald Trump’s first State of the Union Address on Tuesday.
“Tennesseans are tired of politicians who want to have an opportunity to solve a problem but love to keep the crisis alive for votes. Let’s get behind this proposal and do the right thing,” concluded Gardenhire, representing Senate District 10 in parts of Hamilton and Bradley Counties.
Senator Gardenhire serves as Vice Chairman of the Senate Education Committee and is a member of the Senate Finance, Ways & Means Committee as well as the Senate State and Local Government Committee. Todd and his wife Sylvia reside in Lookout Valley and have four grown children and five grandchildren.