An Arizona-like state law on illegal immigration will be one of the first things Tennessee’s new Republican-dominated legislature will consider next year, reports The Tennessean. Says Sponsor Sen. Bill Ketron, “You can’t deny how (illegal immigration) is affecting us, from education to health care to the judicial system to incarceration, and more importantly the number of jobs it’s taken away.”
On the other side are those who believe a law would unnecessarily heighten tensions and could get in the way of legitimate federal efforts to deal with the most serious immigration cases. The large private prison company Corrections Corporation of America has contributed significantly to politicians in Tennessee who support the law and is a member of an organization promoting the law. CCA says it has not taken a stand on any immigration legislation, but the company would benefit if such laws prompted a need for new detention centers to open. CCA, its officers, and their families contributed more than $95,000 to campaigns in the state this past election cycle. The company also had five lobbyists working at the Tennessee legislature this year. CCA earns as much as 12 percent of its revenue from contracts with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.