Thursday
Jul242014

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.

Monday
Jun302014

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.

 

 

 

 

 

Wednesday
Jun112014

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!

 


Wednesday
May282014

TIRRC Denounces President Obama's Delay of Deportation Review and Urges Immediate Administrative Relief

Yesterday, President Obama asked the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Jeh Johnson, to delay his review of the enforcement policies and programs that have led to the deportation of an estimated 2 million people since the President took office. The Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition (TIRRC) denounces the President's delay and urges the administration to reconsider.

Two months ago, the Obama Administration commissioned a review of deportation policies, stating that he has "deep concern about the pain too many families feel from the separation that comes from our broken immigration system." According to a White House spokesperson, the President requested that DHS delay the review until the end of August in order to give the House of Representatives space to pass immigration reform.

TIRRC believes that executive action will not undermine the potential for immigration reform, but is a critical step to ensuring justice and family unity for immigrant communities. While Congress has the ultimate responsibility to change our nation's outdated immigration laws, the President can and should take swift action to provide relief to the millions of families who would benefit from immigration reform and who suffer under our unjust laws and broken system each day relief is delayed.

Our nation is facing a humanitarian crisis as deportations reach record levels and both Congress and the President have a responsibility to act. Each day Congress fails to pass reform and the President fails to provide relief, another 1000 families are separated by deportations.

Immigrant families in Tennessee and across the country cannot afford to wait:

Veronica Zavaleta, a member of TIRRC's Immigrant Women's Committee in Nashville, cannot afford to wait until August while her brother is in deportation proceedings right now. Veronica's niece, who has already lost her mother, cannot wait until August when she risks losing her father today.

Daniel Marquez, a member of TIRRC's Memphis Chapter, CUUV, cannot afford to wait until August. He is currently fighting his own deportation so that he can stay with his wife and four children.

 

Monday
Mar242014

14,000 Students' Dreams Put on Hold - Senate Education Committee Fails to Move Tuition Equality Bill Forward

Nashville - As graduating seniors look forward to attending college this fall, undocumented students will still have to pay 3 times as much to attend public universities in Tennessee.  Despite broad support from the business community, the University of Memphis, the Nashville Public School system, and immigrant and US-born families across the state, the Senate Education committee failed to move legislation forward that would grant undocumented students access to in-state tuition. The legislation, SB1951, was predicted to generate needed revenue for Tennessee universities and increase college graduation rates, priorities that align with Governor Haslam's "Drive to 55" goals. The sponsor moved the bill to the General Sub-Committee.

 

The following is a statement from Cesar Bautista, a coordinator of TIRRC's campaign for Tuition Equality:

"It is unfortunate that the legislature has missed an opportunity to strengthen our state's economy, generate revenue for our universities, and give every student the opportunity to pay their fair share for college. When undocumented high school seniors graduate this May, they will have to pay 3 times as much for school, making higher education impossible for most."

"Immigrant youth have advocated for this bill for two years and we won't quit until every student can pay a fair price for college. Our dreams are what's at stake, and we will never give up."