Commissioners in Hamblen County, Tennessee say it may be necessary to raise
property taxes to pay for services used by the county's growing illegal
alien population (the fastest growing in the state).

Theresa Harmon
Tennesseans for Responsible Immigration Policies

Link to article:
http://www.volunteertv.com/Global/story ... v=4QcHZW7i

Morristown, Hamblen County (WVLT) - An article that appeared in an East
Tennessee newspaper is sparking some controversy in Hamblen County.

In Wednesday's edition of the Citizen-Tribune, a Hamblen County commissioner
is quoted as saying taxes may be going up due to Hispanics.

But that commissioner, Larry Baker, told Volunteer TV News, it's not the
legal Hispanics, but the illegal immigrants that are cause for concern.

We wanted to know just how serious that problem is, so we sent Volunteer
TV's Chloe Morroni to Morristown to find some answers.

Alex Rodriguez came here from Mexico nine years ago.

"It's for a better life," she says.

She owns two Mexican stores and a restaurant in Morristown. Alex says she's
just like the other immigrants in the area-- productive people, contributing
to society.

"They came to work if they have to clean the floors pick tobacco or
whatever. They're not looking to go to an office and sit down there;
they're not looking for that kind of job. I don’t know why Americans are
afraid of Spanish," says Rodriguez.

Alex says she thinks Hispanics in Hamblen County are getting a bad rap from
the county commission, but Commissioner Tom Lowe says it's not the legal
immigrants like Alex, leaders have a problem with.

"I want them to know they are more than welcome," says Lowe.

Officials say many of the county’s thousands of Hispanics are illegal and
Lowe says they're costing the county serious money. Commissioners say they
may have to raise property taxes by a million dollars to cover increase
costs in schools to hire bilingual teachers.

"That puts a strain financially, big time," says Lowe.

Plus, officials say a large number of teens going through the juvenile court
system are Hispanic and most don't have proper documentation.

"Additional jail inmates, that costs a bunch of money,� Lowe adds.

Some folks in Hamblen County say they don't want to fork over more money to
pay for illegal immigrants.

"I'm opposed to it yes," says James Loop, Morristown resident. "I don't
think a raise property taxes on account of trying to teach them how to read

As for Alex Rodriguez, she says if taxes are raised and commissioners blame
Hispanics, she's afraid it will make life even more difficult for those who
are just trying to make things better.

By some estimates Hamblen County has the largest and fastest growing
Hispanic population of any county in Tennessee.

Commissioners say they'll take up the tax issue in the coming weeks.

We'll keep you posted.