A Tennessee Government Council Recommended Illegal Immigrant Children Receive Legal Status at 18

By Robyn Spradlin

by Danielle Dolin

The Tennessee Youth Transition Advisory Council urged the state General Assembly to consider granting legal status to illegal immigrant children who are currently in the states foster care system so they would qualify for extended foster care services, such as taxpayer funded college tuition, legal representation, and vehicle repairs.

According to the Daily Wire the council was created by the Tennessee Legislature to help with  foster care and during the submittal of its annual report, the council recommended the status change to unlock benefits that currently only Tennessee citizens enjoy.

The council’s report underscored that “undocumented” children are given special immigrant juvenile status when they’re inducted into the foster care system. However, when they age out of the program after turning 18, they aren’t permitted to receive the extended services.

The report read in part: “The Tennessee General Assembly should explore options to rectify this discrepancy in treatment, including reclassification of these youth as qualified legal aliens.”

The proposal came amid criticism for the Volunteer state lacking an adequate number of bed spaces for foster care children and reports of illegal immigrant kids released into the U.S. by the Biden Administration making their way to Tennessee, as reported by the Daily Wire.

The outlet also indicated the council’s recommendation extended to the Tennessee Bar Association as well, calling for them to establish pro-bono legal services for 18–24-year-old immigrants that need help. If the recommendation were taken, Tennessee taxpayers will potentially foot the bill for illegal immigrants to lawyer up if they commit a crime.

The two top state lawmakers made it clear to the news outlet that they had no intention of implementing the recommendation.

Jack Johnson, the Senate Majority Leader called the legislation “misguided,” while Tennessee House Speaker Cameron Sexton said it lacked understanding of the current immigration issue in America.”

Sexton elaborated on legal and illegal status.

“A qualified legal alien is here lawfully — obviously an illegal immigrant is not here lawfully.”

Both Johnson and Sexton indicated neither the House nor the Senate had any intention of following the recommendation.

“There is absolutely no appetite in the Senate to consider this misguided recommendation which would take resources away from Tennessee children in our country legally,” Johnson told The Daily Wire.

Sexton added the council would be examined to see if it needs to exist or “sunset.”

Robyn Spradlin is a freelance journalist working as a contributor for Christian News Journal covering news and politics on the national and state levels. She has worked as a copywriter for Victory News on the Victory Channel since 2022. Robyn has a BA in Communication Studies and an MA in Journalism from Regent University and is a member of the Evangelical Press Association. She is an author, evangelistic minister, and a musician. She lives in South Florida, where she enjoys the outdoors when she’s not writing.

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