Tennessee's lawsuit against the federal government over refugee resettlement could be filed by the end of the month, a proponent of the effort said Tuesday.
Senate Majority Leader Mark Norris, R-Collierville, said a team of legal experts was coming to Nashville to discuss the forthcoming lawsuit, which was approved by the legislature last year.
"We will be working on the complaint that we intend to file I hope before the end of the month," he said, while indicating that there has been interest from some in Kentucky about joining the lawsuit.
Norris said any lawsuit would be filed in the federal court in Nashville or possibly in Washington, D.C.
Tennessee's lawsuit will be the first of its kind in the nation, given that it will challenge the federal government for noncompliance of the Refugee Act of 1980 based on the 10th Amendment.
The amendment says the federal government possesses only powers delegated to it by the U.S. Constitution and that all other powers are reserved for the states.
The federal refugee act was designed to create a permanent procedure for the admission of refugees into the United States.
The basis of the lawsuit centers on based on several arguments, including that the federal government has failed to consult with the state on the continued placement of refugees; the cost of administering the refugee resettlement program has been shifted to the state without officials specifically authorizing the appropriation of funds; and that the ongoing placement of refugees is a violation of the 10th Amendment.
Last fall, legislative leaders signed off on the selection of the Thomas More Law Center, a Michigan-based legal group that has taken on several conservative legal causes in recent years.
Organizations such as the American Civil Liberties Union of Tennessee and the Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition have slammed the forthcoming lawsuit saying it will negatively affect the state’s refugee community and perpetuate a culture of fear.