Friday
Oct132017

What you need to know about Muslim Ban 3.0 and the lowered cap on refugees:

During his first week in office, President Trump signed an executive order putting a moratorium on all refugee resettlement and banning travelers from seven Muslim-majority countries. Despite defeats in the courts and resistance in the streets, the president hasn’t given up on his extreme campaign promises. Last month, Trump announced he he issued a third version of the Muslim Ban and lowered the number of refugees to be resettled next year to 45,000 - the lowest number in the program’s history.

Different Ban, Same Islamophobic Agenda: On Sunday, September 24th, the day the second iteration of the Muslim ban was set to expire, the White House unveiled Muslim Ban 3.0, which willgo into effect on Wednesday, October 18th. Muslim Ban 3.0 changes and expands the list countries whose nationals are barred from entering the U.S. The countries on the list now are: Chad, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria, Yemen, North Korea, and Venezuela. Sudan is no longer included, and Chad, North Korea, and Venezuela have been added. For a detailed list of criteria for each country on the ban, visit here.

The Trump administration claims these countries have not cooperated in providing information for visa vetting  however, Somalia remains banned even though it does live up to the government’s new visa cooperation standards.While Muslim Ban 3.0 includes two non-Muslim majority countries (North Korea and Venezuela),  the addition of these countries does little to provide substantive evidence that this is still anything but an attack on Muslim immigrants and an effort to follow through on his promises of a “total and complete shutdown” of Muslim immigration to the US. North Korea, for example, only accounted for 61 of the more than 75 million total U.S. visas given to foreign travelers in 2016. And, only Venezuelan government officials and their families are barred from tourist and temporary business visas.  On the other hand, nearly all nationals from the Muslim-majority countries are barred from obtaining green cards regardless of what business or family ties they have in the U.S.

Unlike previous bans, this one has no expiration date, indefinitely keeping tens of thousands of families apart and aspiring Americans from coming to the country.

Closing Our Doors to Refugees: Just three days after the announcement about Muslim Ban 3.0, President Trump lowered the refugee ceiling to 45,000 refugees for the 2017-2018 Fiscal Year, which begins each October. In the midst of a global refugee crisis, the largest displacement of people since World War II, this number is a shameful betrayal of our values and the lowest in the history of the resettlement program. Since the resettlement program creation in 1980, the average admissions ceiling has been 96,000 - more than double what the President has proposed for next year and far less than the previous record-low of 67,000 set by Ronald Reagan in 1986. The dramatically lowered ceiling means that fewer people fleeing persecution and violence will be able to find refuge in the U.S.

To justify this decision, the Trump administration has relied on a series of problematic arguments around security, cost, capacity, and community support. But, these justifications are not based on data or evidence. In fact just recently, the White House rejected a study by a federal bureau which showed that refugees bring in $63 billion more in government revenues than they cost.  

The Local Impact: Previous iterations of the Muslim ban lowered the refugee ceiling to 50,000, forcing local resettlement agencies to close or cut staff. Meanwhile, the state legislature is suing the federal government in an effort to end resettlement in Tennessee. Tennessee has long been at the forefront of extreme and hateful anti-Muslim and anti-refugee rhetoric and policies. As detailed in our 2015 report, Countering the Backlash, the national anti-refugee movement has used Tennessee as a testing ground for some of the nation's most extreme policies. In fact, one of the country's first explicitly anti-refugee policies in recent times was introduced in the Tennessee legislature by Shelbyville Senator Jim Tracy in 2011, allowing local governments to pass (symbolic) moratoriums to stop resettlement in their communities. More recently, a group of white nationalist organizations announced they would be holding "White Lives Matter" rallies in Middle Tennessee, including in Shelbyille and Murfreesboro, to protest the “ongoing problem of refugee resettlement.”

Despite these efforts, we believe that our state has the opportunity to lead the country in turning the tide, defending refugee resettlement, and building truly welcoming communities where everyone belongs.

What You Can Do: On October 18th, the day Muslim Ban 3.0 is set to go into effect, join the ACLU of TN, the American Muslim Advisory Council, Bridge Refugee Services, and the Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition for a rally and vigil to say #NoMuslimBanEver and #RefugeesWelcome.

These events are part of a nationwide day of action. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter and sign up for our mailing list to stay updated on what you can do to help us build a more welcoming Tennessee.

 

For more information see:

 

Thursday
Oct052017

What's happening with Congress and the Dream Act? 

The end of DACA: On October 5th, the federal government accepted the final DACA renewal applications as the successful program phases out after five years. When the president made an announcement to  terminate the program in September, he set a cruel and unworkable deadline of October 5th for all DACA recipients whose work permits expired before March 5th to submit their renewal application. With such a short window for re-applying, about a quarter of all those whose DACA expired between September 5, 2017 and March 5, 2018 had not submitted renewals. Roughly 42,000 DACA recipients who failed to renew will lose their ability to work and will be at risk of deportation by March 5, 2018, unless Congress takes action and restores protections.

Congress must act: Congress may have five months to act, but DACA recipients, their families, and their employers can’t wait. By terminating the DACA program, the president has upended the lives of nearly one million young immigrants across the country, including more than 8300 DACA recipients in Tennessee. If Congress fails to enact a legislative solution to restore protections, an estimated  938 DACA recipients per day will lose their jobs and become undocumented.

Congress has no excuse not to pass legislation like the Dream Act and to ensure that no DACA recipients lose their ability to participate and contribute in our communities or face the risk of deportation; it’s what Americans want. 76 percent of Americans want Dreamers to remain in the U.S. as citizens or lawful permanent residents, including two-thirds of self-identified Trump voters.

Despite the urgency, members of Congress are failing to prioritize the lives of nearly 1 million young immigrants. Instead of passing the popular Dream Act and providing a desperately needed sense of stability to DACA recipients and their employers, Congress has demonstrated a lack of urgency and has instead focused on repealing the Affordable Care Act (again), drafting tax reform legislation, and debating extreme and anti-immigrant proposals that would hurt instead of help immigrant communities, including building a border wall or expanding ICE’s ability to deport individuals based on unfounded accusations of gang affiliation.

The legislative options: So far, five bills have been introduced in Congress in response to the termination of DACA.  For a side-by-side comparison of these bills and eligibility requirements see here.

  • The Dream Act: This bipartisan bill would provide a direct road to U.S. citizenship for people who are either undocumented, have DACA or temporary protected status (TPS), and who graduate from U.S. high schools and attend college, enter the workforce, or enlist in a military program. About 3.3 million people could be eligible for citizenship under the Dream Act.

  • The Recognizing America’s Children Act: A Republican-led bill that is similar to the Dream Act but would include fewer people because of more restrictive eligibility criteria - about 2.5 million would qualify.

  • The SUCCEED Act: The SUCCEED Act has the most restrictive eligibility requirements for U.S. citizenship, and it erodes due process and the rights of those who it is intended to protect. Of all the bills, SUCCEED sets the longest period--15 years--before an individual could obtain citizenship. An estimated 2.6 million immigrant youth could be eligible. With conservative members of Congress starting to coalesce around this bill, it could hurt efforts to get real protection for Dreamers passed.

  • The American Hope Act: The most generous of the bills introduced, the American Hope Act has the least restrictive eligibility criteria and would include 8 million undocumented youth. Unfortunately, it is least likely to see the light of day since it’s a Democrat-led bill.

  • The Bridge Act: A Congressional equivalent to DACA, the Bridge Act would provide 3 more years of DACA protections without any permanent solution like a pathway to citizenship, landing us right back where we are today.

Although five bills have been introduced, Congressional leadership has yet to prioritize the debate or provide any momentum to get a bill through committee and to the floor for a vote. At this point, it is unclear exactly which of the bills will be the ultimate vehicle or what process Congress will go through to pass a piece of legislation. Right now, Democrats in the House are trying to force a vote on the Dream Act. If they gather 218 signatures for a discharge petition, the Dream Act would bypass every committee and go straight to the floor for a vote. Others have discussed attaching the Dream Act to a piece of “must pass” legislation this fall. While the exact path forward is uncertain, one thing is clear: we must build a massive movement to mobilize the majority of Americans who support DACA recipients and demand a clean Dream Act now so that there is no gap in protections for immigrant youth.

What can you do: Passing a clean Dream Act is possible, but we will need everyone to join us in this fight. Over the coming weeks, we’ll be leading marches, rallies, and phone banking sessions to urge our Members of Congress to act. We need you to stand with us every step of the way. Take action today by sending a message to our elected officials, follow us on Facebook and Twitter, and subscribe to our mailing list for more ways to engage in the coming weeks.

 

 

Wednesday
Sep062017

Declaración de La Coalición por los Derechos de los Inmigrantes y Refugiados de  Tennessee

El dia de hoy el Procurador General, Jeff Sessions anuncio la terminacion del programa de DACA que deja en el limbo las vidas de 800,000 personas en el pais. Este programa ha dado protección a casi un millón de personas de la deportación, ha otorgado un permiso de trabajo, y les da dado la oportunidad de tener plena participación en sus comunidades. Se terminó el programa que le ha dado a más de  8,340 jóvenes Tenesianos un sentido de seguridad y la oportunidad de soñar e invertir en su futuro. La terminación de este programa hace que 8,340 teresianos estén expuestos a una deportación, a perder sus trabajos y licencias de conducir.

Hoy, después de 5 años de existencia de un programa que ha hecho que casi un millón de personas tengan buenos trabajos, acceso a una educación, nos sentimos indignados ante las acciones que el presidente continúa tomando contra la comunidad inmigrante.

5 puntos importantes sobre el anuncio de DACA:

 

  1. Su DACA seguirá vigente hasta su fecha de vencimiento actual: Su DACA y permiso de trabajo continuaran vigente hasta su fecha de vencimiento. Para saber la fecha de vencimiento de su DACA y permiso de trabajo, mire la carta de aprobación y la parte de abajo de su permiso de trabajo.
  2. No se aceptaran nuevas aplicaciones de DACA: Si usted tiene una aplicación pendiente, llámenos para buscar asesoría legal (615)414-1030.
  3. Aquellos que necesitan renovar su DACA y permiso de trabajo en los próximos 6 meses, deberán enviar su aplicación de renovación en los próximos 30 días, antes del 5 de octubre. Les aconsejamos hacer una consulta legal antes de enviar su aplicación. Para buscar asesoría legal llámenos al (615)414-1030.
  4. No seguirá disponible el permiso anticipado para viajar conocido como “Advance Parole”: El departamento de seguridad nacional no otorgara permiso para viajar fuera del país a los beneficiarios de DACA. Cualquier aplicación pendiente no será procesada y reembolsara el costo de la aplicación enviada.
  5. USTED no está solo! Estamos unidos en esta lucha. Hace 5 años, nos organizamos, movilizamos y marchamos por DACA, y así continuaremos para hacer todo lo que este dentro de nuestro poder para proteger a jóvenes inmigrantes y sus familias que viven en Tennessee.

 

Es importante que se mantenga informado, ya que en los próximos días saldrá más información y detalles sobre cómo este anuncio le impactara a usted y su familia.


Este es el momento de luchar y unirse para que nos pronunciemos antes estos ataques continuos hacia nuestras comunidades y levantemos la voz para proteger y defender a nuestras familias que están aquí en busca de mejores oportunidades para las generaciones futuras.

Monday
Jul102017

Policy Update | July 1, 2017: More Deportations, More Resistance

Policy Update | July 1, 2017

Since inauguration day, the president has been carrying out his draconian campaign promises of mass deportations. In the first 100 days of the administration, immigration arrests were already up nearly 40% over the previous year. Across the country, and here in Tennessee, ICE has been terrorizing communities and separating families.

But, the president isn't alone in his work to build up a deportation force. This week, we've seen the many ways that Tennessee elected officials are making it easier for the federal government to carry out mass deportations. Check out our policy update below.

It will be a summer of resistance as we fight for immigrants' right to remain in Tennessee (and their right to come here in the first place). Will you join us?


Tennessee Attorney General Launches Attack on DACA

On Thursday, AG Herbert Slatery joined 9 attorneys general and a governor in sending a letter to the Trump administration with an ultimatum: end the 2012 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program by September 5th or they'll sue. 

It is shameful that the attorney general has put Tennessee at the forefront of the anti-immigrant movement, fighting to put 8000 young Tennesseans in the deportation pipeline. But, immigrant youth are here to stay - and ready to fight for DACA. 

From leading campaigns to pass the DREAM Act, to stop the deportation of students, and for tuition equality, immigrant youth in Tennessee have built a powerful coalition of their friends and classmates, educators, business leaders, and more. This summer, we'll be bringing coalition partners together in a statewide campaign to #DefendDACA.

Sign up to join the campaign to #DefendDACA
and spread the word! 

Read more in our press statement.


Knox County Sheriff Approved for 287(g), Deputies Officially Join Deportation Force

In one of his first executive orders, the president made clear that he would need local law enforcement to join his deportation force. The Knox County Sheriff, J.J. Jones, wasted no time. In March, we learned that he had applied for a 287(g) agreement, hoping that his employees would be able to help with mass deportations in Knox County. This week, we learned that Trump administration approved his application. 

The 287(g) program is a formal agreement between local jurisdictions and the federal government that deputizes local law enforcement as immigration agents. 

Sheriff J.J. Jones has a troubling record of civil rights violations, including pledging to "stack [immigrants] like cordwood" in his jails. That Knox County will acting as federal immigration enforcement agents is devastating news for all residents of Knox County, especially immigrant families who will be living under unthinkable fear of their local law enforcement. All residents suffer when critical law enforcement resources are diverted to separating families and public safety is undermined by eroded trust between immigrants and police. 

While the program won't formally go into effect for a few months, our work to ensure the disastrous program is short-lived in Knox County begins today. We'll be working with our members and partners to monitor Sheriff Jones and his deputies, defend the rights of residents, and make sure that no other county follows Knox's lead by applying for 287(g). Stay tuned for ways you can take action! 


Tennessee Members of Congress Advance Trump's Anti-Immigrant Legislation

On Thursday, the House of Representatives passed two laws that make it easier for the president to carry out his vision of mass deportations. The day before, the president hosted a roundtable urging lawmakers to support both bills. Unfortunately, the Tennessee delegation overwhelmingly voted to advance both bills.

H.R. 3003 - Anti-Sanctuary City Bill
This bill punishes cities that pass common-sense policies to promote public safety by keeping local law enforcement out of federal immigration enforcement. More here.

Voting Yes: Black, Blackburn, DesJarlais, Duncan, Fleischmann, Kustoff, Roe
Voting No: Cohen, Cooper

H.R. 3004 - Criminalizing Immigrants, Fueling Detention
This bill expands the government's ability to prosecute people who re-enter the country, including those fleeing violence and reuniting with their family, further criminalizes immigrants, and removes due process protections. More here.

Voting Yes: Black, Blackburn, Cooper, DesJarlais, Duncan, Fleischmann, Kustoff, Roe
Voting No: Cohen

We're watching Congress and tracking how our representatives vote on every anti-immigrant bill this year. Check out this infographic which shows their record to date. 


Punitive Anti-Immigrant Tennessee Law Goes Into Effect Today

Earlier this year, the Tennessee legislature passed one of the country's most punitive anti-immigrant laws, which goes into effect today. 

Public Chapter 492 grants Tennessee's courts the ability to impose harsher sentences on defendants for any offense, solely based on whether they are "illegally or unlawfully" in the U.S. This is the first law of its kind in the country.  Other states have attempted to enact similar legislation to criminalize people based on their status, but they have been struck down by the courts. We'll be monitoring the implementation of this new law and exploring our legal options. If you or someone you know might be affected by this law and is arrested, charged, or convicted after July 1st, 2017 for any crime, including misdemeanors, please call our hotline at 615-414-1030. 


Keeping Nashville Out of the Deportation Business

As the Trump administration increasingly relies on local governments to carry out mass deportations, cities across the country are adopting policies to protect residents, restore trust in their communities, and ensure local resources aren't used to separate families.

City council members in Nashville have demonstrated tremendous leadership and courage by introducing a set of policies to draw a bright line between city agencies and federal immigration enforcement. TIRRC and 18 other local organizations joined together for the #NashvilleTogether campaign to support the passage of the ordinances. As you read in our last email, the ordinances were withdrawn and won't be going before council for a final vote next Thursday.

Although BL-739 won't be voted on next week, Nashville families aren't giving up! Here's how you can help:

Friday
Jun302017

Attorney General Slatery Launches Cruel Attack on 8000+ Youth

For Immediate Release

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Nashville -  Today, Tennessee Attorney General Herbert Slatery joined 9 attorneys general and a governor in sending a letter to the Trump administration with an ultimatum: end the 2012 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program or they'll sue. The letter comes just weeks after the program's five year anniversary. Slatery and the other signatories give the president until September 5th, 2017 to formally rescind the program or they'll challenge DACA in court. 

Since the program's inception five years ago, the lives of more than 8000 young immigrants in Tennessee have been transformed. Thousands more will be eligible to apply in the future if the program remains intact. With DACA, youth are protected from deportation and are authorized to work in the U.S. The DACA program has been incredibly successful, creating opportunities for immigrant youth to more fully participate in and contribute to their communities. Terminating DACA would have detrimental effects on immigrant families, our communities, and our economy. Without DACA, 8000+ Tennesseans would lose their ability to work, and businesses across the state would have to hire and train new employees to fill positions left vacant by DACA recipients.  According to the CATO institute, the economic and fiscal impact of repealing DACA would result in a 60 billion loss in federal revenue plus $280 billion reduction in economic growth over the next 10 years.

DACA, applicants must meet all of the following to qualify: under 16 when they arrived in the U.S; lived in the U.S. continuously for at least five years; graduated from high school, received a GED or currently be enrolled in an education program; arrived before June 15, 2007 and was 31 years old or younger in 2012; demonstrate a clean criminal record; submit a lengthy application, undergo biometric screening, pay a fee of $465; and renew every two years.

Attorney General Slatery was one of 26 attorneys general who sued the Obama administration to block the 2014 program for parents of U.S. citizens and green card holders (DAPA) and the expansion of the 2012 DACA program. The 2014 programs, which would have benefited an estimated 38,000 people in Tennessee, were enjoined by a federal judge as the lawsuit stalled in court. On June 15th, President Trump formally rescinded the 2014 memo which created the programs. According to the letter sent today, if the Trump administration doesn't rescind the 2012 DACA program by the deadline, they will expand the existing lawsuit to challenge DACA. 

 The following is a quote from Cesar Bautista, TIRRC Youth Organizer:

 "It is shameful that Attorney General (AG) Slatery would join forces with other extremist AGs to launch an attack on DACA recipients like me. But we won't give up. For years, we've built a powerful coalition of educators, employers, friends, and family. We will organize across the state to defend the program. Tennessee is our home, and we will not let our own Attorney General help deport us. We are here to stay. " 

The following is a quote from Jazmin Ramirez, Vice President, TIRRC Board of Directors

"I can't understand why Attorney General Slatery is trying to put young Tennesseans like me into the deportation pipeline. We fought too hard for the DACA program, and it's been too successful - we won't let extremists like AG Slatery take it away. We will defend DACA and  protect youth from deportations - but we won't stop there. We will fight for our families, too. This is our home. We are part of Tennessee, and we won't give up."

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To join the fight to defend DACA, sign the petition here