Tuesday
May262015

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  

PRESS STATEMENT

Tuesday, May 26th, 2015
Contact: Eben Cathey 615.775.1069 eben@tnimmigrant.org

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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Tuesday
May192015

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

PRESS STATEMENT

Tuesday, May 19th, 2015
Contact: Eben Cathey 615.775.1069 eben@tnimmigrant.org

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." 

Friday
Apr242015

La igualdad de cuotas de matrícula pierde por un voto

Nashville – El mierecoles, 22 Abril, el proyecto de ley de Igualdad de Cuotas de Matrícula quedó a un voto de ser aprobado, con 49 a favor y 47 en contra, sin conseguirse la mayoría constitucional (50) que se requería para su aprobación. Tres miembros no estuvieron presentes para votar. El proyecto de ley fue devuelto al Comité de Calendario y Reglas, y se podrá volver a considerar la siguiente sesión legislativa, sin que se necesite reconsiderar en el Senado ni en los comités donde ya ha sido aprobado.

Cuando los miembros del grupo juvenil de TIRRC se reunieron el día de graduación en mayo del 2012 para anunciar su campaña de Igualdad de Cuotas de Matrícula, se prometieron entre ellos que educarían a su comunidad, presionarían a los legisladores y contarían sus historias hasta que la igualdad de cuotas fuera realidad en Tennessee. Tras tres años de campaña, estamos decepcionados por el voto de hoy, pero no desanimados. El hecho de que el proyecto de ley fue aprobado por el senado estatal el Jueves pasado con un voto de 21 a 12 y que haya conseguido el apoyo de 49 miembros de la cámara de representantes es testimonio del liderazgo y la persistencia de los miembros juveniles de TIRRC.

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

“Durante los comentarios para cerrar la discusión en el pleno de la cámara de representantes, el Presidente White le pidió a sus colegas que tomaran la decisión correcta y demostraran liderazgo sobre un tema difícil. Hoy, muchos miembros fracasaron como líderes, incluyendo muchos que, habiendo prometido previamente su apoyo, vacilaron al último momento. Desearíamos que los miembros de la Asamblea General hubieran demostrado tanto valor y liderazgo como los estudiantes inmigrantes que han estado peleado por conseguir esta legislación, los mismos estudiantes a los que ahora, en efecto, se les ha negado el acceso a una educación universitaria económica por otro año más”.

La siguiente es una cita de César Bautista, beneficiario de DACA y líder en la campaña de TIRRC en favor de la igualdad de cuotas de matrícula:   

“Es difícil creer que nos faltó apenas un voto para alcanzar la igualdad de cuotas. Continuaremos organizándonos y haciendo campaña en favor de la igualdad de cuotas, para que la Clase del 2015 sea la última que se gradúe teniendo que pagar el triple que sus compañeros. Quiero que la Asamblea General sepa que, al no aprobar la igualdad de cuotas, no sólo están frenando a estudiantes ambiciosos como yo, sino que también están frenando a todo nuestro estado”.

Wednesday
Apr222015

Tuition Equality Falls Short by One Vote

Nashville - This afternoon, the Tuition Equality bill fell short in the House on a vote of 49-47, lacking the constitutional majority (50) required for passage. Three members were not present for the vote. The bill was referred back to Calendar and Rules and can be reconsidered next legislative session, without having to be reconsidered in the Senate or committees it has already passed.

 

When TIRRC youth members gathered on graduation day in May of 2012 to announce their campaign for Tuition Equality, they pledged to one another that they would educate their community, lobby lawmakers, and tell their stories until Tuition Equality was a reality in Tennessee. After three years of campaigning, we are disappointed but not deterred by today's vote. The fact that the bill passed the Senate last Thursday by a vote of 21-12 and earned the support of 49 House members is a testament to the leadership and resilience of TIRRC's youth members.

 

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

"In Chairman White's closing comments on the floor, he asked his colleagues to make the right decision and show leadership on a tough issue. Many members failed to lead today, including many that had previously committed their support, faltering at the last minute. We wish that members of the General Assembly had demonstrated as much courage and leadership as the immigrant students who have fought for this legislation, the same students who are now effectively denied access to an affordable college education for another year."

 

The following is a quote from Cesar Bautista, DACA recipient and leader in TIRRC's campaign for tuition equality: 

"It's hard to believe that we were only one vote away from having tuition equality. We will continue to organize and campaign for tuition equality so that the Class of 2015 can be the last class to graduate and have to pay three times as much as their peers. I want the General Assembly to know that by failing to pass tuition equality, they are not only holding ambitious students like me back, but they voted to hold our whole state back."

 

 

 

 

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Saturday
Apr182015

POLICY UPDATE: Tuition Equality Passes Tennessee Senate

On Thursday, April 16th dozens of TIRRC members and dreamers donning caps and gowns, watched from the Senate Chambers as the tuition equality bill passed! We wanted to share the good news with you, and ask for your help as we move towards a final vote in the House of Representatives. 

In 2012, TIRRC members and their teachers vowed that future classes would have greater access to college. Now three years later, a bill that would grant in-state tuition to DACA recipients has passed one of the last hurdles. We are closer than ever thanks to the leadership of Tennessee dreamers and a diverse coalition that includes business groups, faith organizations, and institutions of higher education. Our members and member organizations across the state have been working tirelessly -- from Latino Memphis to the Unity Center in Cleveland, this has truly been a statewide, grassroots effort.

As the legislative session comes to a close, the bill will move quickly through two more committees and head to a final vote on the House floor early next week, if we're lucky. Anti-immigrant groups are mobilizing their members to call legislators and voice opposition to tuition equality, but we know that Tennesseans believe all students have the right to an education, which is why your Representative needs to hear from you.

Please call your Representative and ask them to support tuition equality. To find his or her contact info, click here and type your address in the "Find My Legislator" box on the right.

Sample script: 

"Hello my name is _________________, I live in __________________, and I was calling to urge Representative _______________ to support HB675, the Tuition Equality bill that allows many immigrant students to pay in-state tuition. Our students are our future and we should make sure that every Tennessee student can pay a fair price for college. Please vote yes on HB675 and give these students a chance to follow their dreams. Thank you." 

Please encourage all of your friends, family, and community networks to make the call, too! 

P.S. If you're in Middle Tennessee, mark your calendars for nextWednesday, April 22, to celebrate the campaign with us at La Hacienda on Nolensville Rd. in Nashville from 5:30-7:30 pm