|Image by Harald Groven. Licensed via Creative Commons.|
If you search Tennessee statutes for the words "immigrant" or "immigration" or "alien," you will find 111 hits. Apparently, our Republican lawmakers think that's not enough.
Unsatisfied with the immigrant-related laws on the books, Tennessee's GOP caucus tries to add more sentences, paragraphs, chapters, pages and volumes - every year, without fail - in what I call the "yada yada" strategy. Yet another deportation approach, followed by yet another deportation approach.
Some of these legislators even went to Arizona to photocopy that state's now-infamous legislation and bring it here. (In doing so, they proudly flew our flag inside another state's borders. The irony escaped them.)
Despite this eagerness on the right to add to the bureaucratic weight of the Tennessee Code, not all Tennessee Republicans agree with them.
Where some see a bigger lawbook, others see a bigger state.
Nashville's own Rod Willams of A Disgruntled Republican was speaking out over a year ago, when the Arizona law was first passed. Williams is a veteran of the Air Force, having served tours in Vietnam and Thailand. He is a graduate of East Tennessee State University, where he wrote a conservative column for the school newspaper and was Chairman of the campus chapter of Young Americans for Freedom. And he served on the Metro Council from 1979 to 1990. Williams is currently the Director of Housing Services for a Nashville non-profit.
Williams' first reaction to the Arizona law was to resist the creation of a "papers please" society, especially at the behest of a supposedly small-government party. Williams subsequently expressed concern about the law's "transfer of power from the individual to the state", pointing out he's not the only Republican wary of states writing themselves into greater positions of power over the person. Williams linked to conservative pundits and also attracted comments on his blog from other Republicans disapproving the Arizona direction. In that post, Williams concludes:
I am glad that we have conservatives who will think and analyze. I am glad we have conservatives who will stand by their support of the constitution and stand for less government even when it is not the popular position to take.One would hope that Tennessee's legislators will eventually put down their pens. Until then, we need Williams and other courageous, consistent conservatives to keep their pens in hand.
Read Williams' posts here: