PRESS STATEMENT: Office of New Americans an Investment in Nashville's Future

Monday, September 22nd, 2014


Nashville – This morning, Mayor Karl Dean signed an executive order creating an Office of New Americans within his office. Nashville, a modern gateway city with one of the fastest growing immigrant populations in the country, follows in the footsteps of New York and Chicago in the creation of an office that reduces the barriers to full integration and civic participation for immigrant communities. The creation of the Office of New Americans will develop new initiatives and strengthen existing programs, including the Mayor's New Americans Advisory Council, MyCity Academy, the new Parent Ambassadors program, and TIRRC's partnerships with the city to promote citizenship. 

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

“TIRRC applauds the creation of an Office of New Americans in Nashville and is proud that our Mayor recognizes the benefits this office will bring to our entire community. We hope that the Office of New Americans will ensure that the initiatives of the Mayor's office are inclusive of the unique experiences of immigrant communities, and that cities throughout Tennessee will learn from Nashville’s example and take seriously the need to invest in immigrant integration.”


President Obama Broke His Promise to Immigrant Families

Today, President Obama's Administration confirmed that he will not take executive action on immigration until after the mid-term elections. On June 30, the President had made a promise to immigrant families that he would do everything within his power to fix our broken immigration system by the end of summer.  

Our coalition is extremely disappointed and angry that President Obama has chosen to put election year politics above immigrant families. At the current rate of 1100 deportations every day, President Obama will have deported another 66,000 people by election day. 

Our coalition will keep fighting with our allies and partner organizations across the country to put pressure on President Obama to act quickly and provide expansive relief to our communities. We also won't wait for President Obama to deliver relief. We will work locally to protect our families from the deportation machine that devestates our communities through programs like Secure Communities. 



Representative Blackburn Targets Children with Opportunistic, Anti-Immigrant Agenda

Nashville - In response to the regional humanitarian crisis in Central America that has led to tens of thousands of children escaping violence, gang conscription, and sexual abuse to make the dangerous journey to the United States, Representative Blackburn has introduced a piece of legislation to deport Dreamers.

Representative Blackburn has chosen to pursue an opportunistic, anti-immigrant agenda by introducing a bill to defund the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)--a form of administrative relief enacted in 2012 that protects young undocumented immigrants from deportation and gives them the opportunity to work. DACA has been overwhelmingly positive and successful since it was enacted by President Obama in response to Congressional inaction on immigration reform.

Representative Blackburn's assertion that DACA is the root cause of the unaccompanied minor crisis is false, opportunistic, and incredibly dangerous. The fringe anti-immigrant extremists who blocked immigration reform and lack compassion for children escaping violence are on the wrong side of history.

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

Children are fleeing to Costa Rica, Belize, Mexico, and the United States because they are desperate to escape violence. Representative Blackburn's use of the crisis in Central America to further her own ongoing anti-immigrant agenda demonstrates a serious lack of compassion and crude political opportunism at it's worst.

We urge Congress to act on real solutions in response to the crisis in Central America--expanding funding to the Office of Refugee Resettlement and not rolling back legal protections for these children. President Obama should provide leadership in response to anti-immigrant legislators like Representative Blackburn by expanding Deferred Action and facilitating a humane response to the crisis of unaccompanied minors in the region.


America can't wait forever, it's time for President Obama to do the right thing

Today, President Obama announced that he will use his executive authority to address the many challenges and problems our nation faces as a result of our unjust immigration system and a lack of action in Congress. He has instructed the Attorney General and the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security to make recommendations on what kind of relief and reform he can administer without Congress. He has asked for these recommendations to be made by the summer's end.

The announcement comes after the one year anniversary of the Senate passing SB744 and after House Speaker John Boehner informed the President that the House of Representatives would not be passing an immigration overhaul this year. The President stated that he still believes that Congress has the responsibility to pass a more complete and permanent fix to our broken system, but that in the meantime he has been forced to pursue administrative action.

Over the past year, TIRRC has joined in the national #Not1More campaign and the Fair Immigration Reform Movement's Keeping Families Together campaign to put pressure on the President to use his executive power to stop deportations, grant administrative relief by expanding Deferred Action, and end the unjust Secure Communites program that uses local law enforcement to deport immigrants and separate families. Previously, President Obama had delayed any review of his policies to make room for the legislative process.

TIRRC is encouraged by the President's announcement today and will continue to advocate with immigrant families in Tennessee for the boldest and most expansive executive actions. TIRRC urges the Administration to act quickly to grant administrative relief and end the suffering that immigrant communities face under our current system that deports more than a thousand people every day. Until the President takes action on administrative relief, we will continue to fight back against Secure Communities and unjust deportations.







The City of Nashville and USCIS Partner in Pathways Program to Increase Naturalization

Yesterday, Mayor Dean and the acting Director of USCIS Lori Scialabba formerly announced that Nashville will join the "Pathways for New Americans Program," an initiative that will provide naturalization information and open up class spaces at no cost to groups teaching English and assisting immigrants at five libraries and four community centers in Nashville. Nashville joins Chicago and Los Angeles in making its libraries and community centers hubs for citizenship assistance.

There are over 20,000 Legal Permanent Residents in Davidson County eligible for citizenship, but barriers such as lack on information, an intimidating and complicated application process, and cost deter many from applying. These citizenship corners will help eligible immigrants learn about the application process and necessary steps, and direct them to community partners like TIRRC that can assist with the application process.

Nashville continues to be a national leader in immigrant integration and a welcoming city for new Tennesseans!