Tennessee Immigrant & Refugee Rights Coalition

CHATTANOOGA, TN (TN Tribune)—  In response to reports that Texas Governor Greg Abbott has begun sending buses with migrants seeking asylum throughout the country – from Washington D.C. to New York City – and now, Chattanooga, Tenn. The Tennessee Immigrant & Refugee Rights Coalition (TIRRC) issued the following statement below. 

People have the right to seek asylum in a country where they feel safe. An individual’s right to seek international protection is upheld by U.S. law which recognizes the right to present oneself at the border to seek protection. These people are exercising their rights under U.S. and international law.

“Tennessee has a long history of welcoming and providing refuge to those in need, from Cuban political asylees in the 1960s to welcoming Afghan parolees and refugees from around the world. This moment is an opportunity for us to live up to the ideals of our nations by welcoming these families with dignity and kindness. 

No matter what it is that brought families here, our local communities and the state of Tennessee has a moral obligation to ensure that everyone is treated with human dignity and has access to shelter, legal services, service coordination, healthcare, reproductive health services, mental health services, and education.

While Governor Abbot is using vulnerable individuals as a political football, Chattanooga – and Tennessee – should rise above and lead with our values and welcome our new neighbors with dignity.”