Press release from the Tennessee House Republican Caucus; May 25, 2012:
NASHVILLE, Tenn.—A measure to crack down on illegal immigrants seeking to claim public benefits in Tennessee was signed into law by Governor Bill Haslam earlier this week.
House Bill 1379, sponsored by Representative Joe Carr (R—Lascassas), requires each Tennessee department and State agency to verify the lawful presence in the U.S. of each person 18 years of age and older who applies for state, local, or federal public benefits.
“We have seen far too many instances of illegal immigrants coming to America and taking advantage of the benefits our system offers to citizens who legitimately need support during rough times,” stated Carr, a long-time advocate for reform on the issue. “This new law will help us rein in the abuse numerous reports have discovered in the system.”
While the public benefits system has been a frequent source of abuse by illegal immigrants, a recent news story shows illegal immigrants are also ripping off taxpayer dollars through the tax system.
Nashville’s WTVF-TV uncovered a scam whereby undocumented workers are receiving millions of dollars in tax refunds by filing false tax returns. The report, with video, can be accessed by clicking here.
Rep. Carr was immediately alarmed.
“This is just unreal. We have been fighting to end one problem and now we find out $14 million taxpayer dollars are going to the pockets of individuals who are here illegally? And that is just from this one company here in Murfreesboro. In total, the report cited a study that found $4.2 billion is handed out to illegal immigrants. It’s complete madness,” said Carr. “While I’m glad we have taken a positive step with this new law, it now appears to be just one of many we are going to have to take. I pledge to work with my counterparts in Congress and our Governor to end this practice, at least in Tennessee.”