TIRRC Denounces HR 3009

This afternoon, the House of Representatives voted to pass H.R. 3009, an anti-immigrant bill which would prevent local governments from passing community-policing strategies that restore trust between local law enforcement and the immigrant community. H.R. 3009, which is being called the “[Donald] Trump Act,” would prohibit Department of Justice grants to local police departments that prioritize community trust and due process by limiting the relationship between local law enforcement and federal immigration enforcement. The House vote came after the White House threatened to veto the legislation.

Representatives Black, Blackburn, Cooper, Desjarlais, Fincher, Fleischmann, Duncan, and Roe voted for H.R. 3009. Representative Cohen was the only Tennessee Representative to oppose the legislation.

TIRRC denounces H.R. 3009 and the decision by eight of our Members of Congress to support the legislation.

We have been waiting years for Congress to take meaningful action to update our nation’s broken immigration system. Instead of reform, immigrant communities have been devastated by an out-of-control enforcement regime that separates families, largely through creating a deportation pipeline from our local jails. In contrast to the inaction by Congress, local governments across the country have passed policies that build and strengthen the relationship between immigrant communities and local law enforcement. If enacted, H.R.3009 would prohibit local governments that have adopted these common-sense policies from receiving critical public safety funding.

H.R. 3009 was advanced in reaction to the tragic death of Kathryn Steinle in San Francisco, but rather than introducing legislation that meaningfully advances public safety, the House has instead passed a bill that scapegoats immigrant communities in an irresponsible, knee-jerk reaction to a tragedy.

The following is a quote from Stephanie Teatro, Co-Executive Director of the Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition:

“After Davidson County’s devastating experiment with 287(g), Tennessee communities know well that local governments should be able to set reasonable limits on the collaboration between local law enforcement and ICE. Trust between the immigrant community and local police in Nashville continues to be undermined by the legacy of 287(g) and the ongoing presence of ICE in our jails.

H.R. 3009 is a step in the wrong direction. We urge Senators Corker and Alexander, who have supported more comprehensive immigration reform, to oppose this ill-conceived legislation should it be voted upon in the Senate.” 


TIRRC Condemns Unspeakable Violence in Chattanooga, Urges Unity in Response


Friday, July 17th, 2015
Contact: Eben Cathey


TIRRC Condemns Unspeakable Violence in Chattanooga, Urges Unity in Response

Nashville - The Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition (TIRRC) condemns the unspeakable acts of violence that occurred in Chattanooga yesterday and sends our deepest condolences to the families of the four Marines who were tragically killed in the horrific attack and those who were injured. We stand with residents of Chattanooga and communities across the state as we mourn the lives lost in yesterday's devastating tragedy and begin to heal together.

The following is a statement from Stephanie Teatro, Co-Executive Director of TIRRC:

"Our hearts are with the families of the victims of yesterday's devastating tragedy. We condemn in the strongest possible terms the unspeakable violence that was committed in Chattanooga.

Immigrant communities--of all faiths and backgrounds--denounce the senseless violence we saw in Chattanooga and are deeply mourning the tragic shooting alongside all Tennesseans.

In moments like these it is critical that we unite under our shared American values and emerge from this tragedy as a stronger community. We cannot let where we are from or how we worship divide us. In moments like these we must stand together through our common identity as Tennesseans.”


50,000 habitantes indocumentados de Tennessee continĂșan esperando alivio  

Continúa la larga batalla legal ahora que el 5º Tribunal de Circuito ha denegado la suspensión de emergencia; TIRRC permanece confiado de que los programas de alivio de las deportaciones serán ratificados


Nashville, TN - Hoy, el Tribunal de Apelaciones del Quinto Circuito de los Estados Unidos denegó la petición del Departamento de Justicia de los EE.UU. para una suspensión de emergencia que habría revertido la orden que ha retrasado la implementación de los nuevos programas de alivio a las deportaciones que el Presidente Obama anunció el año pasado.  A mediados de febrero, el Juez Federal Andrew Hanen emitió una orden judicial temporal, deteniendo la puesta en práctica de los nuevos programas mientras considera el caso de Texas vs. Estados Unidos, la demanda antiinmigrante presentada por 26 estados, que incluye a Tennessee. En consecuencia, 50,000 inmigrantes de Tennessee que se esperaba que calificaran para los programas continuarán viviendo con el temor de ser separados de sus familias.

El fallo de hoy no es la última palabra de la larga batalla legal alrededor de las acciones del ejecutivo. El tribunal únicamente emitió un fallo sobre la solicitud del Departamento de Justicia de una suspensión de emergencia, con lo que se habría levantado la orden judicial durante el tiempo que dure el proceso de apelación, permitiendo que los inmigrantes que califican pudieran comenzar el proceso de solicitud. El proceso de apelación continuará este verano, cuando el Tribunal de Apelaciones del Quinto Circuito tendrá una audiencia sobre la solicitud formal para levantar la orden judicial.  A la vez, el Departamento de Justicia podría apelar la denegación de suspensión de emergencia. El Departamento de Justicia no ha dicho aún cuáles serán sus siguientes pasos.

A pesar del lento avance de la demanda legal de los antiinmigrantes a través de los tribunales, el apoyo en favor de las familias inmigrantes y de los programas de alivio a la deportación ha crecido. Los expertos en leyes siguen confiados de que el Presidente Obama ha actuado dentro del marco de su autoridad legal y que los programas, a fin de cuentas, podrán entrar en vigor. Desde que el Presidente anunció sus acciones ejecutivas en Noviembre del año pasado, TIRRC ha trabajado con más de 10,000 inmigrantes en Tennessee para entender los requisitos para calificar y prepararse para el proceso de solicitud.

La siguiente es una cita de Stephanie Teatro, Codirectora Ejecutiva de TIRRC:

“Aunque estamos decepcionados por la decisión del tribunal, ni nos sorprende ni nos desalienta. Seguimos teniendo la confianza de que los programas podrán entrar en vigor y que podremos continuar trabajando con las familias inmigrantes a través del estado para prepararnos para la inevitable entrada en vigor de la DAPA y la DACA extendida. El Fiscal General Slatery debe retirar a Tennessee de la demanda frívola que pretende perpetuar el estado actual de nuestro descompuesto sistema migratorio, el cual desperdicia el dinero de los contribuyentes y retrasa el único proceso migratorio que está disponible para más de 50,000 trabajadores de Tennessee.”


50,000 Undocumented Tennesseans Continue to Wait for Relief - Lengthy Legal Battle Continues as 5th Circuit Denies Emergency Stay, TIRRC Remains Confident That Deportation Relief Programs Will Be Upheld  


Tuesday, May 26th, 2015
Contact: Eben Cathey 615.775.1069

Nashville, TN – Today, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit denied the U.S. Department of Justice’s request for an emergency stay that would have lifted the injunction that has delayed the implementation of new deportation relief programs that President Obama announced late last year. In mid-February, Federal Judge Andrew Hanen issued a temporary injunction halting the implementation of the new programs as he considers the Texas vs. United States case, the anti-immigrant lawsuit filed by 26 states, including Tennessee. As a result of the injunction, 50,000 immigrants in Tennessee who are expected to qualify for the programs continue to live in fear of being separated from their families. 

Today’s ruling is not the final word in the lengthy legal battle around the executive actions. The court only ruled on the Department of Justice’s request for an emergency stay which would have lifted the injunction during the appeals process and allowed eligible immigrants to begin the application process. The appeal process will continue this summer as the Fifth Circuit Court Appeals will hear the formal request to lift the injunction.  At the same time, the Department of Justice could appeal the denial of the emergency stay. The Department of Justice has not yet said what their next steps will be.

Despite the slow movement of the anti-immigrant lawsuit through the court system, support for immigrant families and the deportation relief programs has grown. Legal scholars remain confident that President Obama acted within his legal authority and that the programs will ultimately be able to go into effect. Since the President announced his executive actions in November of last year, TIRRC has worked with more than 10,000 immigrants in Tennessee to understand the eligibility requirements and prepare for the application process. 

The following is a quote from Stephanie Teatro, Co-Executive Director of TIRRC:

"While we are disappointed in the court's decision we are not surprised or deterred. We remain confident that the programs will be able to go into effect and we will continue to work with immigrant families across the state to prepare for the inevitable implementation of DACA and DAPA. Attorney General Slatery should drop Tennessee from the frivolous lawsuit that attempts to perpetuate the status quo of our broken immigration system, wastes taxpayer dollars, and delays the only immigration process available to over 50,000 hardworking Tennesseans."

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TIRRC Urges AG Slatery to Drop Tennessee from Anti-Immigrant Lawsuit 


Tuesday, May 19th, 2015
Contact: Eben Cathey 615.775.1069

Tennessee - Today should be the day that 50,000 Tennesseans could apply for a new deportation relief program announced by President Obama last November. Instead of applying for relief, immigrant families are denouncing the politically motivated lawsuit that has temporarily blocked the new programs from going into effect. In February, a district court judge in Texas who is hearing the lawsuit brought by 26 states placed a temporary injunction on the new programs. Tennessee Attorney General Herbert Slatery joined Texas vs. United States as a plaintiff in late December 2014. The lawsuit is still being considered in the Texas district court, but the Department of Justice has requested an emergency stay from the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals that would lift the injunction and allow the programs to go into effect while the case is being heard at the district level. A decision on the stay request could come from the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals at any moment.

If it weren't for the injunction, 50,000 Tennesseans would have the opportunity today to apply for DAPA, register with the federal government, and have the chance to live and work without fear of separation from their family. The Obama administration and legal scholars across the country are confident that the executive actions will ultimately be upheld and the programs will go into effect, but proponents of the anti-immigrant lawsuit seek to delay this critical relief to immigrant families and create a climate of fear and confusion in the immigrant community in an effort to undermine this historic victory. 

Today, TIRRC joins hundreds of immigrant rights organizations across the country for a national day of action in opposition to the Texas lawsuit that is delaying much needed deportation relief for immigrant communities. TIRRC members and supporters across the state will participate in a Digital Day of Action today to protest the delay of deferred action and to demand that TN Attorney General Slatery drop Tennessee from the Texas-led lawsuit, gathering petition signatures and mobilizing calls. TIRRC members in Knoxville will also participate in a march and rally organized by one of our local organizing committees, Comite Popular de Knoxville. Today's day of action comes on the heels of a mass mobilization in New Orleans on April 17th, where more than 50 TIRRC members attended the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals hearing on the emergency stay request.

The following is a quote from Stephanie Teatro, Co-Executive Director of TIRRC:

"Attorney General Slatery's decision to sign onto this politically motivated lawsuit does not reflect the values of Tennesseans who support keeping families together and making it easier for everyone to contribute to their communities. We urge him to drop Tennessee from this lawsuit today. 

Despite the temporary block of DACA and DAPA, the courageous immigrant families across Tennessee that fought for executive action continue to organize to defend their communities against deportation and to protect this historic victory. These hardworking families shouldn't have to wait one more day for relief. Since the announcement in November, our coalition has worked with more than 10,000 undocumented immigrants across the state to better understand DACA/DAPA and to prepare to apply. We remain confident that the programs will ultimately go into effect and we'll be ready as soon as that day comes."