Roughly 300 Afghan refugees are headed for Nashville, but one of the organizations taking them in refused to say Monday whether someone or some entity is vetting those refugees for health or security risks.

Staff at the Islamic Center of Nashville did not return The Tennessee Star’s repeated requests for comment Monday.

Executive Director of the American Muslim Advisory Council for Middle Tennessee told the Nashville-based WSMV on Monday that the number of Afghan refugees headed to Nashville is 300.

The Nashville-based News Channel 5 reported Monday that the Islamic Center of Nashville helped collect items for Afghanistan refugees last weekend.

Some 44 Afghan refugees who were brought to the U.S. were flagged as potential national security threats in the last two weeks.

A measles outbreak occurred last week among Afghan refugees who recently arrived at Fort McCoy in Wisconsin. Fort McCoy is one of the military bases housing thousands of Afghan refugees after recent evacuation attempts because of the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan.

The Tennessee-based Bridge Refugee Services announced last week that they were preparing to accept more Afghan refugees and send them to East Tennessee.

Governor Bill Lee has declined to say what action, if any, he deems necessary to respond to new Afghan refugees.

Lee did not publicly state late last month whether he wants Tennessee to take in Afghan refugees. Two of the state’s other top Republicans, however, made their opinions known.

Tennessee Speaker of the House Cameron Sexton (R-Crossville) said he doubted whether taking in Afghan refugees is wise.

“I do not have confidence in the Biden administration’s vetting process concerning the refugee issue, much less his ability to work with law enforcement and immigration officials,” Sexton said.

“His administration has been a failure on both immigration and foreign policy. Therefore, I do not think it is a good idea for Tennessee to accept Afghan refugees.”

Lieutenant Governor Randy McNally (R-Oak Ridge), meanwhile, said it’s important that the government “halt illegal immigration, protect our borders and limit those entering our nation.”

“Afghanistan is a unique situation. For nearly 20 years, we have had a significant military presence there and solicited help from many inside the country to fight against the Taliban,” McNally said.

“Those that helped us are now at risk. Our nation should do everything it can to assist legitimate and authentic political refugees from Afghanistan in finding new places to call home.”

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Chris Butler is an investigative journalist at The Tennessee Star. Follow Chris on Facebook. Email tips to chrisbutlerjournalist@gmail.com.
Photo “Afghan Refugees” by ResoluteSupportMedia. CC BY 2.0.