TN Faith Leaders Accuse Sen. Hagerty of Demonizing Asylum Seekers

Advocate Andy

Southern Christian Coalition says Hagerty guilty of hypocrisy on fentanyl crisis

In response to reports that U.S. Senator Bill Hagerty of Tennessee laid the blame for Tennessee's fentanyl crisis at the feet of immigrants seeking asylum in the U.S., faith leaders affiliated with the Southern Christian Coalition pointed to Hagerty's own voting record as evidence of what they called "hypocrisy" on the part of the Senator.

In a press release, members of the group expressed their frustration with Hagerty.

“Many of us know all too well the pain of seeing a loved one struggle with addiction,” said Rev. Dr. Lillians Lammers, Associate Pastor of First Congregational Church in Memphis. “But today, Senator Bill Hagerty is using the same old tactics to fuel fear among us based on what we look like, where we come from, or the struggles we face, in order to avoid solving the actual problem. And while many of his constituents are working hard to make ends meet and afford healthcare, Senator Hagerty seeks to blame immigrants, refugees and asylum seekers for our state’s addiction challenges to try and win his next election instead of working to solve the problem by voting to fund security at the border devoted to actually catching fentanyl traffickers.”

“It’s frustrating to see Senator Bill Hagerty making false claims about the opioid crisis here in Tennessee to gain political points and demonize immigrants and refugees,” said Rev. Dr Kevin Riggs, Pastor of Franklin Community Church. “At least 3,000 Tennesseans die from drug overdoses each year and as one of the states with the highest rate of deaths due to overdoses, it is certainly a serious crisis. But, blaming immigrants at our southern border in order to gain political points isn’t just bearing false witness, it also specifically goes against the call of Christ to love our neighbors as ourselves and to welcome immigrants and refugees."

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Andy Spears is a middle Tennessee writer and policy advocate. He reports on news around public policy issues - education, health care, consumer protection, and more.

Nashville, TN

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