Illegal Aliens in East Tennessee
Illegal immigration has become big problem for the residents of East Tennessee. While the political left and big business touts "diversity," the cost is dumped onto state/local taxpayers for jails, schools, and emergency room care. They claim, "that economists say immigrant workers are beneficial to economic growth, and that illegal aliens are not taking jobs or significantly affecting native workers' wages." But what does "futurist Ed Barlow have to say to nearly 300 business, community and government leaders in 2004,
...nearly 16 percent of Sullivan County's population is over the age of 65...Seniors create low-wage service jobs. They tend to withdraw from working, and they generally don't create new wealth...One solution is with the rising number of Hispanics in the country..."
The real idea is to import a cheap labor force willing to live at or near poverty to keep the cost low in the low wage service jobs we create here. This certainly will keep wages depressed in many local job sectors that are already depressed. This has forced a lot of out migration of younger workers from the region that creates this void to begin with. And cheap labor is simply another word for poverty which dumps enormous cost onto local taxpayers for jails and social programs. The report below claims illegal aliens are not eligible for welfare, etc. That is false because their children born here are and thus the whole family is.
Tennessee became a magnet for illegal aliens when they were giving out drivers licenses, that was rescinded in 2006. Illegals are also a going force in crime and drugs trafficking in the region. In addition, many new businesses are given millions in tax breaks and subsidies to locate here only to hire illegal aliens instead of local residents.
Fact: Tennessee has a fast growing illegal alien population that now exceeds 100,000 persons, and the fiscal burden on Tennesseeans resulting from services provided to that population are similarly growing rapidly. That estimate means that nearly half of the estimated 210,000 foreign-born residents in the state are illegal residents...the annual fiscal burden on the state's taxpayers is about $285 million... Ref. www.fairus.org
Update 11/14/2007 Kingsport Times-news: Kingsport police nab 11 illegal immigrants in a van on I-81
On Tuesday, Kingsport police arrested 11 illegal immigrants during a traffic stop for speeding, according to a KPD press release. The release said Kingsport police stopped an Astro van with Arizona tags near mile marker 57 on Interstate 81 and found 11 illegal immigrants. No identities were provided in the release. Police believe the group crossed the border in Arizona sometime within the past week and were traveling to New York City, N.Y. Tennessee Highway Patrol Trooper Greer and Trooper Wolfenbarger assisted Kingsport police in the arrests. Those arrested were transported to the Kingsport Justice Center. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement officials responded to the Justice Center and took custody of all the suspects for immigration violations.
Report says lax enforcement of laws fuels Tenn. immigration concerns
Published 08/01/2007 Kingsport Times-News
Lax enforcement of federal immigration laws is driving much of the concern over immigration issues in Tennessee, according to a state Comptroller's report released Wednesday. "The state is limited in its power to control immigration. The power to regulate immigration is exclusively federal," said the report, which also noted that federal law specifically limits state and local efforts to establish more stringent requirements regarding immigrants' employment and immigration law enforcement.
The report told Tennessee lawmakers to consider encouraging the federal government to take a "stronger role" in controlling and funding services for the estimated 100,000 to 150,000 illegal aliens in the state. State lawmakers introduced a number of bills during 2006 and 2007 to limit illegal aliens' access to employment, as well as to public benefits and services.
Representatives of state trade associations interviewed by the Comptroller's Office of Research said most businesses want to follow federal laws to verify employees' immigration status, but added it is not easy to detect false documents. The report pointed to a 2005 Government Accountability Office finding that document and identity fraud "make it difficult for employers to comply" with verification. The report stressed that economists say immigrant workers are beneficial to economic growth, and that illegal aliens are not taking jobs or significantly affecting native workers' wages.
As for expenses, the report found taxpayers mostly pay for illegal aliens at the state and local levels. For instance, federal law requires Tennessee schools to admit all students regardless of their immigration status. In addition, public schools must provide services to non-English language proficient students. All students can also qualify for free and reduced-price lunches and other school assistance programs based on family income. But illegal aliens, said the report, are not eligible for most public benefits.
"The cost of public benefits provided to unauthorized aliens are primarily restricted to elementary and secondary education and emergency and public health care as required by federal law," said the report. "State and local governments have some increased costs from the incarceration of unauthorized aliens for criminal behavior ... (but illegal) aliens contribute to state and local revenues ... through sales taxes on goods purchased, property tax through payment of rent, as well as other user taxes such as those on gasoline. They are not able to access public services such as Tenn Care (the state's Medicaid program), housing, food stamps, welfare and lower cost higher education."
The report said only U.S. citizens who are Tennessee residents can get a state driver's license, and noted the law does not distinguish between illegal aliens and U.S. citizens who commit crimes in the state. "After serving their sentences, the federal government may deport any foreign-born convicts, including authorized or unauthorized aliens," the report said. "Local law enforcement and corrections agencies have indicated frustration at the lack of response from the federal government in picking up criminal unauthorized aliens for possible deportation when eligible for release."
Sullivan County may target firms that hire illegal immigrants
Kingsport Times-News 08/22/2007 By J.H. Osborne
BLOUNTVILLE - There's a proposal before Sullivan County commissioners "to require local companies receiving county tax incentives or funds to employ only U.S. citizens or legally documented immigrants." The resolution, introduced by Commissioner Moe Brotherton and co-sponsored by Commissioner Sam Jones, in part says "employment of immigrant workers oftentimes undermines the U.S. worker and the standard of living that has been accomplished." It was distributed to commissioners as a "first reading" item Monday at the Sullivan County Commission. That means it could come for a vote next month and gain passage with a simple majority of 13 "aye" votes from the 24-member commission.
Contacted by the Times-News on Wednesday, Jones said he and Brotherton are not responding to any particular situation - they don't know of any business with funding links to the county that is employing illegal immigrants. Jones also said they're aware state and/or federal laws might already bar the practice. But, Jones said, they think the county needs to "go on record" on the issue.
"If we're going to be using taxpayers' dollars to fund incentive programs or contracts with businesses, this is something we need to have in place. We don't see anything, but we ought to address the issue. There are a lot of programs that come into play. We shouldn't be giving government incentives to companies employing illegals," he said. The resolution he co-sponsors with Brotherton says "guest worker programs and the use of immigrant workers is becoming even more popular by many U.S. companies."
What the proposal asks commissioners to enact: "Now therefore be it resolved that the (County Commission...) authorize that all companies that are recruited to locate in the county by the use of tax incentives and aided by county funds be required to primarily employ area citizens."
Be it further resolved that the (County Commission) hereby require that all companies that locate in industrial parks developed with the aid of county funds be required to primarily employ area citizens." "Be it further resolved that any company contracting with the county to perform work paid for by county funds be required to employ only U.S. citizens or legally documented immigrants."
Asked about the wording "primarily employ area citizens," Jones said the phrase refers to the hiring of local residents - rather than bringing employees in from elsewhere. "We'd like to encourage businesses to hire local," Jones said. "But we know there are industries with specialized technical workers, and they're going to bring some with them. ... We want them to be legal." The proposal will be on the agenda for each of the County Commission's three primary committees in coming weeks.
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