So far, the General Assembly has not taken up the border protection cause directly. But that step may not be far behind current legislation that would require proof of citizenship for voter registration in Tennessee and order jailers to notify the Department of Homeland Security of prisoners whose citizenship or residence status can't be verified.
Such measures seem designed to widen the ideological gap between Tennesseans who worry about illegal immigration and those who don't.
For politicians with little more than re-election in mind, wedge issues can be helpful.
Tennessee's lawmakers, who gained national notoriety a few years ago by passing the "road-kill" law to allow motorists to claim dead game struck and left on the highway, has more recently bought into the NRA's guns-in- bars-parks-restaurants-and-churches agenda. Responsible leadership just isn't a guiding value.
That's also why the Republican-led Legislature, forgetting the Sundquist-era lesson of bulging deficits, is once again clamoring to expand use of non-recurring reserve funds to help finance the state's ongoing operational budget. But that issue wasn't resolved Monday. Joining the Arizona controversy was more important.