Tennessee AG says state can’t refuse Syrian refugees

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – State Attorney General Herbert Slatery says in a legal opinion that federal law prevents Tennessee from refusing entry of Syrian refugees.

In the opinion released Monday, Slatery notes that through the supremacy clause of the U.S. Constitution, federal law pre-empts any rules the state seems to put into place on refugees.

But Slatery said that nothing prevents the state from communicating its preferences and concerns about the refugee resettlement program to the federal government.

After the terrorist attacks in Paris, Republican Gov. Bill Haslam asked the federal government to place a moratorium on Syrian refugees being placed in the state.

The legal opinion was requested by state Democratic Rep. John Ray Clemmons of Nashville, who said he wants to prevent “unconstitutional legislation” from being drafted in the General Assembly.(Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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