Tennessee became home for 2,051 refugees in past year — 30% increase

Tennessee accepted 2,051 refugees in the last fiscal year, nearly a 30 percent increase from the number of refugees who came to Tennessee in the prior year, reports The Tennessean.

The increase comes with a pending lawsuit – authorized by the Legislature during the past session — challenging resettlement in Tennessee. A private law firm will represent Tennessee in the lawsuit after Attorney General Herbert Slatery declined to do so.

Sen. Mark Norris, R-Collierville, said he is committed to following that lawsuit through, even with (President-elect) Trump’s pledge to shut the doors to refugees.

Refugee advocates say they are equally committed to ensuring the nation’s refugee program remains open.

“In the weeks following the election, we have been overwhelmed by an unprecedented outpouring of support for immigrant and refugee communities,” said Stephanie Teatro, co-executive director of the Tennessee Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights..  “We will continue to expose and challenge elected officials who undermine the refugee resettlement program for political gain. We cannot let politicians exploit the fears and uncertainty Tennesseans face at the expense of our values. We deserve better and must demand greater leadership.”

…In the past year, the largest numbers of refugees arrived from the Democratic Republic of Congo, Iraq, Syria and Somalia. More than half of the refugees were settled in Nashville with the remainder settling in Tennessee’s other main urban centers: Knoxville, Memphis and Chattanooga.

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