NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WZTV) — A Tennessee representative has filed a series of bills aimed at decreasing illegal immigration to Tennessee and addressing the issue of illegal aliens already living and working in the Volunteer State.
Rep. Bruce Griffey (R-Paris) is proposing the legislation to curb what he said is a major problem in Tennessee and beyond.
“I want to make Tennessee be the very last place that illegal aliens want to come and all of bills seek to do just that,” Griffey said. “In addition, everyone should have to obey the laws equally. It is a fundamental principle and value in America.”
The bills call for ending birthright citizenship, limiting rent or lease options for illegal immigrants, impose money transfer fees to fund the border wall and more.
HB0614: Tennessee Lawful Housing Act
This bill would make it against the law to rent, sublet, lease or sublease a residence to an illegal alien. Griffey cites an ordinance in Fremont, Nebraska which does this very thing and was upheld by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit.
It will be heard on Tuesday before the House Business Subcommittee.
HB1239: Calls for businesses to E-Verify employment status
Griffey wants businesses across the state to E-Verify a possible employee’s work eligibility. Currently, Griffey says private businesses with 50 or more employees must use E-Verify. The bill would expand this to say that private businesses with 6 or more employees, as well as all government agencies, use E-Verify confirm someone’s work eligibility.
It will be heard on Tuesday before the House Employee Affairs Subcommittee.
HB0662: Limitations on Birth Certificates
Griffey is trying to prevent Tennessee from registering birth certificates issued to “to any child born to a mother who is not lawfully present in the United States unless the father is a U.S. citizen and provides (1) proof of citizenship; (2) a sworn acknowledgement of paternity; and (3) a written agreement to provide financial support to the child until the child is 18 years old.”
HB1238: Deems illegal immigrants as "flight risks" in the court system
This bill would require all Tennessee courts to question if the immigration status of a defendant. If the defendant admits they are in the U.S. illegally or refuses to respond, the court would deem them as a “flight risk.”
This bill will be heard Wednesday before the House Criminal Justice Subcommittee.
HJR47: Support for Trump's Birthright Citizenship views
Griffey wants the state to issue a resolution supporting President Donald J. Trump's views on ending birthright citizenship.
“Illegal immigration is of major concern to the majority of citizens of the State of Tennessee, as it threatens the security and safety of all United States citizens and legal residents and has become a huge financial burden on state and local taxpayers."
HB0562: Fees on money transfers to fund the U.S.-Mexico Border Wall
This bill would impose fees on money transfers from Tennessee to outside the U.S. for those who can’t present a Tennessee driver’s license. The fees would “fund the southern border wall proposed by Trump; and compensate county jail facilities for holding criminal defendants on ICE detainer warrants.”
The Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition is firing back at the series of bills proposed by Griffey. Members plan on attending committee meetings this week to try and kill the bills.
The coalition released the following statement to FOX 17 News:
"Representative Griffey threatens Tennessee's reputation as a welcoming, pragmatic state that takes care of our residents. His extreme views do not represent the best of Tennessee, a state grounded in the values of community, hard work, and hope for our children.
Instead of moving our state forward, Representative Griffey’s policies aim to destroy communities, punish Tennesseans with new taxes, and harm growing families. All eyes are on Bill Lee as he starts his first term-- is this the Tennessee we're going to be? Or will we stand up for all Tennesseans and put an end to scoring cheap political points on the backs of our residents?"