TIRRC Congratulates Megan Barry on Becoming the Next Mayor of Nashville

(Espanol abajo)

The Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition congratulates Megan Barry on becoming the next Mayor of Nashville and all of the new district and at-large council members on their successful campaigns. Throughout the course of the elections TIRRC registered hundreds of immigrant voters and co-hosted an issue briefing for the mayoral candidates and one of the largest candidate forums of the election season.

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

"On behalf of our board, staff, and members in Davidson County, we offer our most sincere congratulations to Megan Barry. We are grateful for her willingness to lead our city at such a critical and dynamic moment.

During her time on the Metro Council, she was a champion for immigrant inclusion and stood up for immigrant families, including votes against English Only and the controversial 287(g) program. We are eager to continue to work with Mayor Barry to make Nashville a more welcoming, equitable, and inclusive place for all residents in the years to come.

In addition to the campaign teams and candidates, TIRRC members are also celebrating because immigrants and refugees are among the winners in last night's election. After years of demographic shifts and TIRRC's decade of work to register, educate, and mobilize immigrant voters, it is clear that immigrant civic engagement has transformed politics in Nashville. This year's election marked a major shift where many candidates recognized the growing political power of the immigrant community--translating campaign materials into multiple languages, dancing and throwing colorful powder at the Indian Holi festival, and joining diverse Muslim communities to celebrate Ramadan.

Our work doesn't end on election day, however. Now that all of the ballots have been cast and the results are in, we'll continue to organize immigrants and refugees to be powerfully engaged in the civic process and work to advance pro-immigrant policies in the new city council. The immigrant community is organized, engaged, and ready to make Nashville the most welcoming city in the South where all residents can fully participate and contribute, regardless of where they are from, what their immigration status is, or how they worship."


TIRRC felicita a Megan Barry por su elección como la próxima Alcaldesa de Nashville

La Coalición por los Derechos de los Inmigrantes y Refugiados de Tennessee felicita a Megan Barry por su elección como la próxima Alcaldesa de Nashville, así como a todos los nuevos concejales generales y de distrito, por el éxito de sus campañas. En el transcurso de estas elecciones, TIRRC registró a cientos de votantes inmigrantes y fue co-anfitriona de una sesión informativa sobre las plataformas de los candidatos a la alcaldía y de uno de los foros de candidatos más grandes de la temporada electoral. 


La siguiente es una declaración de Stephanie Teatro, Codirectora Ejecutiva de la Coalición por los Derechos de los Inmigrantes y Refugiados de Tennessee:

"A nombre de nuestra junta directiva, personal y miembros del Condado de Davidson, le ofrecemos nuestras más sinceras felicitaciones a Megan Barry. Agradecemos su disposición a encabezar esta ciudad en un momento tan crítico y dinámico.

Durante su tiempo en el Concejo Metropolitano abogó por la inclusión de los inmigrantes y se manifestó a favor de las familias inmigrantes, incluyendo votos en contra de las legislaciones de Sólo Inglés y el controvertido programa 287(g). Estamos ansiosos por continuar trabajando con la Alcaldesa Barry para hacer de Nashville un lugar más acogedor, igualitario e inclusivo para todos sus residentes en los años por venir. 

Además de los equipos de campaña y los candidatos, los miembros de TIRRC también están celebrando porque los inmigrantes y refugiados se encuentran entre los ganadores de la elección de anoche. Tras años de cambios demográficos y de la década de trabajo de TIRRC registrando, educando y movilizando a los votantes inmigrantes, queda claro que la participación cívica de los inmigrantes ha transformado la política de Nashville. La elección de este año marcó un cambio mayor en el que muchos candidatos reconocieron el creciente poder político de la comunidad inmigrante, traduciendo su material de campaña a una variedad de idiomas, bailando y arrojando polvos de colores durante el festival Holi indio y uniéndose con diversas comunidades musulmanes para celebrar el Ramadán. 

Sin embargo, nuestro trabajo no termina el día de la elección. Ahora que se han emitido todos los votos y se cuenta con el resultado final, continuaremos organizado a los inmigrantes y refugiados para que participen poderosamente en el proceso cívico y trabajen en el nuevo concejo de la ciudad en pro de políticas que favorezcan a los inmigrantes. La comunidad inmigrante está organizada, involucrada y lista para hacer de Nashville la ciudad más acogedora del sur, donde los residente pueden participar y contribuir plenamente, sin importar su origen, estatus migratorio o forma de culto.” 


PRESS STATEMENT: Statewide Organizations Unite to Denounce Sheriffs’ Dangerous Anti-Muslim Rhetoric


September 2, 2015

Paul Galloway, ACO, (832)
Lindsay Kee, ACLU-TN, (615)
Eben Cathey, TIRRC, (615)                                                                         

NASHVILLE – Four statewide organizations, the American Center for Outreach, the American Civil Liberties Union of Tennessee, the American Muslim Advisory Council, and the Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition, released a joint statement today in response to recent and alarming xenophobic and anti-Muslim comments from several of our state’s elected officials and law enforcement leaders:

Recently the sheriffs of Hamilton and Sevier counties have both made alarmist and sensational anti-Muslim comments, on the heels of similar statements from state legislators.  Inaccurate, sweeping indictments made by leaders in law enforcement endanger members of the very communities that they have taken an oath to protect.  Not only do these statements send the wrong message to their respective communities, they stoke the flames of hate that could incite attacks against peaceful Americans.

Tennessee’s elected public servants should seek to serve all Tennesseans—from all ethnic backgrounds and all religions. This is especially true with regard to law enforcement officials who are charged with insuring our day-to-day community safety.  We urge law enforcement and Tennessee’s elected officials to acknowledge and ensure that all Tennesseans are treated fairly and equally under the law.

Collectively, our organizations look forward to working with Sheriff Hammond, Sheriff Seals and other law enforcement and elected officials who have concerns or need assistance connecting with their local Muslim communities.

Paul Galloway, executive director of the American Center for Outreach (ACO), said, “Sadly, inciting statements like those made by Sheriff Hammond erode public trust and disrupt community and law enforcement relationships.  Perhaps even more urgently, his statements reinforce negative and inaccurate stereotypes of the American Muslim community, which could very well result in hate crimes and discrimination.”

Hedy Weinberg, ACLU-TN executive director, added, “Muslims, like people from all religious traditions, have a clear constitutional right to practice their religion freely without fear of harassment and harm.  The recent Islamophobic statements made by law enforcement encourage racial and cultural profiling, violating our American values of fair treatment and equal protection under the law.  Basing law enforcement decisions on false stereotypes rather than actual police work or evidence of criminal activity is not only a waste of resources, it undermines community-police relations, eroding public safety as a whole.” 

“The Tennessee Muslim community has long and very positive relationships with all levels of law enforcement in order to enhance the security of all Tennesseans,” said Zulfat Suara of the American Muslim Advisory Council.  “Law enforcement leaders and other elected officials who do not have active relationships with their local Muslim communities need to establish those relationships.  Ignorance is not an excuse for those who are entrusted with public safety.”

Stephanie Teatro, co-executive director of the Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition, continued, “It is irresponsible for elected officials who have sworn to uphold the constitution to cast suspicion on a large segment of our community based solely on where they are from or how they worship. As demographics continue to change in Tennessee we urge elected officials to respond in a way that upholds our American values, rather than creating fear and division.”




TIRRC is a statewide, immigrant and refugee-led collaboration whose mission is to empower immigrants and refugees throughout Tennessee to develop a unified voice, defend their rights, and create an atmosphere in which they are recognized as positive contributors to the state. Since its founding in 2001, TIRRC has worked to develop immigrant leadership, build the capacity of its immigrant-led member organizations, help immigrant community members understand and engage in the civic process, and educate the public about policies that would better promote integration of new immigrants and facilitate their full participation in US society. In just a few years TIRRC has grown from a grassroots network of community leaders into one of the most diverse and effective coalitions of its kind, a model for emerging immigrant rights organizations in the Southeast and throughout the United States.


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 continúan 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.”