published Friday, July 30th, 2010

Legislators take heat for trip to Arizona

by Larry Henry

Temperatures soared to 103 degrees in Phoenix on Thursday, but some Tennessee Republicans were taking heat on their home turf.

The legislators are on a scheduled trip to Arizona today to offer Gov. Jan Brewer support for her state’s toughest-in-the-nation immigration law.

Sen. Eric Stewart, D-Belvidere, issued a statement blasting his GOP counterparts for political “pandering” by going on the trip instead of focusing on job creation in the Volunteer State.

“Apparently Tennessee Republicans think political junkets to Arizona are more important than unemployment in their own districts,” Stewart said.

The delegation, which includes two state senators and seven House members, is set to present Brewer with a nonbinding resolution from the Tennessee General Assembly in support of Arizona’s effort to crack down on illegal immigration, said the measure’s prime sponsor, Rep. Joe Carr, R-Lascassas.

One of those traveling to the Arizona capital, Rep. Jim Cobb, R-Spring City, said Stewart’s criticism is an “irresponsible response from a liberal.”

“A lot of unemployment is caused by illegal immigration,” Cobb said.

The Arizona law would have made it a state crime to be in the country without authorization and would have allowed police to check the papers of people they stop or arrest. However, a federal judge on Wednesday issued an order halting much of the crackdown, including sections requiring officers to check a person’s immigration status while enforcing other laws.

Stewart also complained that the resolution cost $500 to bring forward during the legislative session and “does absolutely nothing to address Tennessee’s illegal immigration issues.”


Sen. Bill Ketron, R-Murfreesboro

Sen. Jack Johnson, R-Franklin

Rep. Joe Carr, R-Lascassas

Rep. Jim Cobb, R-Spring City

Rep. Richard Floyd, R-Chattanooga

Rep. Jimmy Matlock, R-Lenoir City

Rep. Tony Shipley, R-Kingsport

Rep. Terri Lynn Weaver, R-Lancaster

Rep. Mark White, R-Memphis


By a 4-1 margin, Tennesseans favor bringing Arizona’s immigration measure to the Volunteer State, according to a Mason-Dixon poll for the Chattanooga Times Free Press and other papers in Tennessee. The poll found that 72 percent of voters would support enacting a law requiring people stopped by police to prove they are in the country legally.

Carr argued that the $500 figure is inaccurate since the legislative staff members who researched and drafted the document were paid for a full day’s work whether they created this resolution or a different one. He said the only expense to taxpayers is the price of the ink and paper to print the copy being presented to Brewer.

“Great, I’ll give the state two bucks,” he said.

Cobb said the lawmakers are paying for the trip out of their own pockets. The cost of the flight from Nashville to Phoenix on Southwest Airlines is $400, he said, and the hotel rooms are $100 each. The group is scheduled to return Saturday.

Carr said the lawmakers negotiated a group rate at the airport Doubletree hotel.

Cobb said the delegation hopes to pick up suggestions while in Arizona, especially on how to prevent racial profiling, which they can use in crafting a measure similar to Arizona’s when the General Assembly next meets in January.

Rep. Richard Floyd, R-Chattanooga, who also is traveling to Phoenix today, has said he wants to do “something meaningful” at the legislature to address illegal immigration.

“I would like to see more stringent penalties for those who hire the illegal (immigrants), those who rent to them, those who provide haven cities or ministries for them,” he said in a previous Chattanooga Times Free Press story.

Georgia lawmakers also are considering legislation next year similar to Arizona’s.

Senate Transportation Chairman Jeff Mullis, R-Chickamauga, has said he will co-author legislation to strengthen immigration laws.

“Those who are residing illegally are breaking the law and utilizing resources that should be for those who obtain legal residency,” Mullis said. “Businesses, local governments and our university system must comply with federal and state illegal immigration laws to relieve wasteful spending and get legal residents and Georgians back to work.”

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slr3 said...

If 72% of the people in Tennessee want a law similar to the Arizona law, why are not all of our politicians in Nashville not putting this legislation on a fast track?? It doesn't appear to me that the will of the people is being represented by our elected officials. We will remember those who are blocking this legislation at election time.Good on our representatives who are going to Arizona to show support for Governor Jan Brewer. We need someone with her fortitude to lead our state.

July 30, 2010 at 4:44 a.m.
deltenney said...

The FEDS have dropped the ball by not enforcing federal laws against illegal immigration and securing our borders; therefore, every state needs to join AZ and pick up the pieces by doing whatever is required to bring security back to our borders. Obama rhetoric seems just that -- the Federal Government has no intention of doing anything to uphold its own laws.

July 30, 2010 at 10:39 a.m.
harley said...

Arizona was happy with the illegals. Once they completed building up this state and do not need their cheap labor it is time to kick them out. The state goverment has ruined this state. We are broke and still are willing to give raises to some workers. We let our mentally ill roam the streets as we can not afford to take care of them. Now being homeless and no one cares. You will see a lot of American Vets on the street out here. Do you think people care out here? Think again. We only pad our own pockets. This state will be the first to throw you under the bus. Not Joking either. Tennesee needs to show AZ how to run a state and take care of their own. This country is not United.

July 30, 2010 at 1:18 p.m.
Leah said...

You have a beautiful State, Stop illegals or you will be and look like California. I live in California and was born here and I hate it here (sad to say). Everywhere is illegals there is no work, WE are paying for everything for illegals, medical, food, housing, utilities, school which is over ran by illegals.. American kids education is over crowded class are almost all Mexican some don't speak English so who do you think is paying for that AMERICAN CITIZENS!

We all have to stop the invasion.

July 30, 2010 at 6:13 p.m.
tnvol72 said...

"If 72% of the people in Tennessee want a law similar to the Arizona law..."

Where the heck did that stat come from??? I don't know five people that care about that Arizona law. I do know several that care about the state of our public schools and Tennessee's unemployment rate which is what are legislators should be focusing on. Stewart was right; this trip was a waste of time and more importantly a waste of our state tax dollars. This was an unnecessary trip funded by the people of Tennessee.

July 30, 2010 at 7:13 p.m.
acerigger said...

tnvol72,don't you know that if we can't carry guns in bars and let queers get married,and have to bend over and take "obamacare",then schools and jobs don't mean DIDDLY!

July 31, 2010 at 4:29 a.m.
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