STATEMENT | Committee Kills Wasteful, Anti-immigrant Bill to Fund Border Wall

PRESS STATEMENT

For Immediate Release: 
March 12, 2019
Contact: Hamp Price | hamp@tirrcvotes.org | (615) 241-0752

Committee Kills Wasteful, Anti-immigrant Bill to Fund Border Wall
HB0562 sought to tax hardworking Tennesseans

 

Nashville, TN - The House Banking and Investments subcommittee voted today to kill HB0562, Representative Bruce Griffey's (R-Paris) bill imposing taxes on money transfers in order to fund a wall on the country's southern border. HB0562 is one of many bills introduced by Representative Griffey opposed by the Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition (TIRRC) and TIRRC Votes.

Rep. Griffey introduced an amendment that would target undocumented immigrants who are transferring money transfers outside Tennessee by requiring a Tennessee drivers license. Representatives Hakeem (D-Chattanooga), Haston (R-Lobelville), Hazlewood (R-Signal Mountain), Holsclaw (R-Elizabethton), Staples (D-Knoxville), and Chairman Powers (R-Jacksboro) voted against the measure, and Representative Hill (R-Blountville) voted to advance the bill.

HB0562 would have imposed a $10 fee on transactions less than $500 from the United States to any location abroad sent via money order, check, or draft, along with a 1% fee on transactions over $500.

Opposition to the bill from the business community cited onerous regulations and requirements on hundreds of thousands of complicated transactions. Any effort to impose a fee which discourages the use of money transfers present significant hurdles and burdens.

The following is a statement from Lisa Sherman-Nikolaus, policy director at Tennessee Immigrant & Refugee Rights Coalition and TIRRC Votes:

"We applaud the committee for recognizing the need for common-sense policy making over cheap political points. Representative Griffey's failed legislation would unnecessarily damage Tennessee's reputation and economy in order to pay for a border wall that even Congress doesn't want to fund.

This mean-spirited legislation, intended to send an unwelcoming message to immigrants who call Tennessee home, undermines our values and damages our reputation. Representative Griffey has made it clear his policies are not trying to better our state, but to harm our immigrant communities. Tennesseans should be able to trust that their tax dollars are funding programs that move us forward. We urge House leadership to stand up for our values and shelve Rep. Griffey's remaining hateful and dangerous bills."

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TIRRC Votes was launched in 2018 to strengthen and expand our democracy by building power in immigrant and refugee communities and advocating for equitable and inclusive public policy. TIRRC Votes is affiliated with the Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition (TIRRC).

TIRRC is a statewide, immigrant and refugee-led collaboration whose mission is to empower immigrants and refugees throughout Tennessee to develop a unified voice, defend their rights, and create an atmosphere in which they are recognized as positive contributors to the state. Since its founding in 2001, TIRRC has worked to develop immigrant leadership, build the capacity of its immigrant-led member organizations, help immigrant community members understand and engage in the civic process, and educate the public about policies that would better promote integration of new immigrants and facilitate their full participation in US society. In just a few years TIRRC has grown from a grassroots network of community leaders into one of the most diverse and effective coalitions of its kind, a model for emerging immigrant rights organizations in the Southeast and throughout the United States.

Rebecca Hall