Immigration can be a polarizing issue, but I've learned firsthand what it's all about through my work at Tennessee Justice for Our Neighbors, a ministry of the United Methodist Church. 

States can do a lot more when it comes to immigration instead of leaving everything up to the federal government. A two-pronged approach involves public safety and common sense. 

First, we need to invest in local law enforcement agencies so that they can meet their budgets. They need tools, training, and education in order to protect our communities from bad actors, citizens and non-citizens alike. I've seen what happens when law enforcement works with immigrants to prosecute dangerous criminals. We need more trust between these communities.

Second, we need to understand that a majority of people coming to the United States are willing to do whatever it takes in order to achieve the American Dream. They work hard and are an important part of Tennessee agricultural economy. They want to learn English, get a good job, and raise American families. Our state doesn't need to waste taxpayer time and money on frivolous lawsuits to end refugee resettlement. We don't need to turn away young people who want to pay in-state tuition at state colleges and universities. We don't need harmful rhetoric that betrays the welcoming spirit of hospitality that is characteristic of the South.