NASHVILLE, Tenn. (OSBORNE) -- Tennessee immigrant rights advocates are reacting angrily to President Donald Trump’s decision this week to further reduce the number of refugee’s the U.S. will accept.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced Tuesday that the U.S. will accept 30,000 refugees in 2019. That’s down from a target of 45,000 admissions this year, and roughly half what the Obama Administration accepted in 2016.
The Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition is the state’s largest immigrant advocacy group. Spokesperson Judith Clerjeune (cler-JUNE) tells WMOT the plan to fight the reduction.
“Refugees are part of the fabric and essence of this country. This is a really shameful decision and a departure from the legacy of this country that the administration is doing.”
Clerjeune says there are Tennessee immigrants who have relatives living in refugee camps all around the world. She says those families are “saddened and disappointed” by the reduced admissions because it will now take longer to get family members into the U.S.
Franklin Republican Glen Casada is the current Majority Leader in the Tennessee House. Casada recently put his hat in the ring to be the next House Speaker.
Casada applauds the president’s decision. He argues that the U.S. should be admitting doctors, lawyers and engineers.
“The goal of immigration is to bring in enough that contribute to society, number one. And number two, integrate into becoming Americans, not hyphenate Americans.”
Casada says he also applauds the president for addressing the problem of illegal immigration. He says there’s precedent in U.S. history for reducing or even halting immigration when the nation is under threat.