Tennessee lawsuit challenging fed immigration policy back in court

Mar 18, 2019

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (OSBORNE)  --  The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals will this week hear oral arguments in Tennessee’s lawsuit against federal immigration policy.

Credit capitol.tn.gov

Two years ago this month state lawmakers filed suit challenging the fed’s right to resettle refugees in Tennessee without state consent. When the state’s Attorney General declined to file the suit, lawmakers found a faith-based Michigan law firm to represent them.

One year ago this month a federal judge tossed the suit saying it lacked merit. American Civil Liberties Union Legal Director Tom Castelli says the judge also questioned lawmaker’s right to file the suit.

“General Assembly didn’t have the power to bring a lawsuit on behalf of the State of Tennessee…that the governor and the Attorney General have that power.”

State lawmakers appealed to the Sixth Circuit which will hear the case Tuesday. Attorneys with the U.S. Department of Justice will defend the federal immigration program in this week’s oral arguments in front of the Sixth Circuit.

Advocacy groups opposed to Tennessee’s lawsuit initially worried that the Trump Administration might refuse to defend federal immigration policy, but Castelli says that fear hasn’t been realized.

“The federal government made the motion to dismiss and made all the arguments that were relevant and have again made those in this brief, so I feel pretty confident that the federal government will at oral arguments continue to defend the statute.”

WMOT asked Republican legislative leaders and the Christian firm representing lawmakers for comment, but received no response.

Attorney Tom Castelli says he expects Sixth Circuit judges to render their opinion in the case by summer, fall at the latest.