UPDATE: Influx of Noncitizens Raises Concerns in Middle Tennessee Cities

Feb 06, 2024 at 06:48 pm by WGNS News



Recent weeks have seen a notable increase in the number of noncitizens relocating to areas such as Murfreesboro, Franklin, and Nashville, according to reports from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The DHS had prior knowledge of the intended destinations for these immigrants, as indicated in a notice distributed to various governmental departments, including the City of Franklin.

State Representative Mike Sparks, who lives in Rutherford County, said... Documented in the notice, approximately 600 immigrants were surveyed about their planned destinations, with Murfreesboro, Franklin, and Nashville specifically mentioned as target cities in Middle Tennessee. Upon crossing the border and undergoing processing by Customs and Border Protection, these individuals are subject to security screening protocols.

The DHS notice stated, "These noncitizens are eligible to apply for employment authorization once they are paroled and are not subject to a statutory waiting period for parole-based employment authorization." Additionally, noncitizens are instructed to report their new residential addresses to the department upon arrival.

Of the total expected arrivals in Murfreesboro, Franklin, and Nashville, which amounts to 573 individuals, approximately 200 are from Guatemala, 200 from Venezuela, and 100 from Honduras and Mexico, according to DHS reports.

The Department of Homeland Security outlined their process of conditionally releasing noncitizens from custody, pending the outcome of their immigration processes. This includes individuals processed for expedited removal, those deemed to have a credible fear, or those placed in removal proceedings before an immigration judge.

Murfreesboro Mayor Shane McFarland expressed concerns over the impact of this influx, stating, "...I don’t care what political party you are part of…. it’s undeniable, the current border policy is a disaster." Mayor McFarland highlighted the strain on local resources, citing a 20% increase in immigrant students in Murfreesboro's school system since January 2023, necessitating additional ESL positions and support.

As the communities of Middle Tennessee grapple with the implications of this influx, local officials and residents alike are seeking solutions to address the challenges posed by the changing demographics and increased demand for resources.


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