Tennessee governor says state will keep resettling refugees

Gov. Bill Lee answers questions from the media during a visit to Gestamp Inc. on Friday, Feb. 1, 2019, in Chattanooga, Tenn. This was Gov. Lee's first visit to Chattanoga as Governor of Tennessee.

NASHVILLE - Tennessee won't stop resettling refugees, Republican Gov. Bill Lee said Wednesday, rejecting an option offered to states by President Donald Trump's administration.

The issue forced Lee, who campaigned on his Christian beliefs, to consider his own experience helping refugees and weigh it against the will of fellow Republicans in the Legislature. GOP lawmakers had sued the federal government over its refugee resettlement program and legislative leaders hoped Lee would accept Trump's offer.

"The United States and Tennessee have always been ... a shining beacon of freedom and opportunity for the persecuted and oppressed, particularly those suffering religious persecution," Lee said in a statement. "My administration has worked extensively to determine the best outcome for Tennessee, and I will consent to working with President Trump and his administration to responsibly resettle refugees."

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