Greene County Commission rejects resolution against refugee resettlement

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GREENEVILLE, Tenn. (WJHL) — A resolution opposing the resettlement of refugees failed before the Greene County Commission on Tuesday night.

The commission voted 6-12 on the measure. Two commissioners were absent from the meeting.

Several members of the public attended the meeting and voiced their concerns and praise the resolution.

“There appears to be a misunderstanding of who and what refugees are that we would somehow be on the hook for paying for them to live here,” said Lena Kendrick Dean with advocacy group, Indivisible Greene County during public comment.

She also brought representatives from Bridge Refugee Services in Knoxville to speak about their experiences.

Some on the county commission say other issues need to be addressed.

“I’m a prejudiced person for Americans, for American veterans and American citizens first,” said Commissioner Clifford “Doc” Bryant.

The resolution comes after Gov. Bill Lee’s decision to allow refugee settlement in the state.

“The only power that this county commission has by state law is those powers delegated to counties by state law,” said county attorney Roger Woolsey as he addressed the commission.

If this would have passed, it would not have been legally binding since a federal judge ruled against the Trump administration’s policy allowing local governments to block refugee resettlement.

So far, only the governor of Texas has said his state will not resettle refugees this year.

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