TN House Members Vote to Undo Protections for Immigrant Moms and Dads, 12/4/14

Eben Cathey, Communications Coordinator: 615-775-1069

Nashville - Today, all seven Republican House members in Tennessee voted to undo President Obama's progress on granting administrative relief to millions of mothers, fathers, and children. Those who cast the mean-spirited vote to deport moms and dads demonstrated their lack of compassion for tens-of-thousands of families in Tennessee, and their preference to put politics before people.

Those who will benefit from the President's policy change represent a fraction of immigrant families that need relief, and much less than the potential beneficiaries of the Immigration Reform bill that passed the Senate. Instead of building on the progress the President has made towards repairing our immigration system, many of our House members are attempting to tear down the potential foundations of reform. It is well-known that the measure has nearly no chance of passing the Senate.

TIRRC will continue holding education sessions across the state to answer questions about administrative relief, educate immigrant community members about how to prepare for the application process, and offer assistance when necessary. We've already reached thousands of people, and will continue to make DACA and DAPA as accessible for possible for immigrant families across the state.


TIRRC Statement on Ferguson, 11/25/2014

Español abajo

For More Information/Para Más Información:
D.J. Hudson, Multicultural Youth Organizer: 615-833-0384 or DJ@TNIMMIGRANT.ORG (English)
Leticia Alvarez, Lead Organizer: 615-833-0384 or LETICIA@TNIMMIGRANT.ORG (Español) 


Upon last night's announcement of the decision of the grand jury in Missouri that they would not indict Darren Wilson, the white police officer who killed Mike Brown, an unarmed black teen, the Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition (TIRRC) issues the following statement:

We are outraged not only by the decision of the grand jury last night, but by the ongoing systemic racism that has been exemplified by the consistent absence of consequences for the taking of black lives and the injustices against communities of color.

For the past decade, TIRRC has been fighting for the rights and dignity of the immigrant community. We have organized and mobilized against the criminalization, surveillance, and mass incarceration of immigrants and against the crisis of deportations that has taken more than 1000 people from our communities every single day. TIRRC has been fighting for our community's right to remain: for the rights of immigrant families not to have to worry each day that their family members will not return home one day, that they may be taken by ICE. We stand in solidarity with the millions of African American families, like the Browns, who each day must worry that their sons may not return home, because they are 21 times as likely to be killed by police than white sons. As we demand not one more deportation and not one more family being separated, we also demand not one more black life lost to police violence. 

In the wake of the Ferguson announcement, we stand in solidarity with the community of Ferguson, the Brown family, and communities across the country who are grieving this injustice. We will continue to organize alongside all communities who demand racial justice, equity, and police accountability--in Ferguson, in Red Bank, TN, and across the country.
We encourage our members to stand in solidarity with Ferguson and participate in actions organized in their local communities (see full list below):
Tras el anuncio de anoche de la decisión del gran jurado en Missouri de no acusar a Darren Wilson,el oficial de policía que mató a Mike Brown, un adolescente desarmado, La Coalición por los Derechos de Inmigrantes y Refugiados de Tennessee (TIRRC) ha emitido la siguiente declaración:

"Estamos indignados no solo por la decisión del gran jurado anoche, sino también por el continuo racismo sistemático que se ha ejemplificado por la constante ausencia de consecuencias al teminar la vida de negros y las injusticias contra las comunidades de color. 

Durante la ultima década, TIRRC ha estado luchando por los derechos y la dignidad de la comunidad inmigrante. Nos hemos organizado y movilizado en contra la criminalización, vigilancia y encarcelamiento masivo de inmigrantes y en  contra la crisis de deportaciones que se ha llevado a mas de 1000 personas de nuestras comunidades a diario. TIRRC ha estado luchando para que los derechos de nuestra comunidad permanezcan: por los derechos de familias inmigrantes de no tener que preocuparse cada día si sus familiares van a regresar a casa por que fueron apresados por ICE. Nosotros nos solidarizamos con los millones de familias afro-americanas, como los Browns, los cuales se preocupan cada día si su hijo volverá a casa ya que ellos tienen 21 veces mas probabilidad de ser asesinados por un policía que un hijo de un blanco. Como exigimos no tener una deportación mas y ni una familia mas separada, también exigimos no perder mas vidas negras debido a violencia policial. 

A raíz del anuncio de Ferguson, nos solidarizamos con la comunidad de Ferguson, la familia Brown y las familia en el país que están sufriendo esta injusticia. Nosotros continuaremos organizando junto con las comunidades que exigen justicia racial, igualdad y responsabilidad policial- en Ferguson, en  Red Bank, TN, a través del país.
Animamos a nuestros miembros a entrar en solidaridad con Ferguson y participar en acciones organizadas en sus comunidades locales:


Solidarity actions happening today in Tennessee/Las acciones de solidaridad que suceden hoy (11/25/2014) en Tennessee:

Johnson City ETSU parking lot across from MacDonalds 7:00pm, candle light vigil at 7:30, Johnson City water fountain

Dunlap Sequatchie County Courthouse 22 Cherry Street 5:00pm

Oak Ridge Y-12 National Security Complex 602 Scarsboro Rd 7pm






It took courage and vision.

President Obama finally did it.

After years of pressure from grassroots communities across the country, President Obama used his executive authority to reform immigration enforcement policy, make critical changes to employment and family-based immigration channels, and expand deportation relief to millions of undocumented people. Last night TIRRC members gathered together for watch parties across the state, and with mixed emotions we listened to the President outline his executive actions. We celebrated and cried tears of relief with members who learned that they qualify under the President's new deportation relief program. Members like Martha, who has lived in the US for more than twenty years and will see her daughter graduate from high school this year, and Diana, a TIRRC board member who benefited from the President's 2012 announcement of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. Since receiving DACA, Diana has been able to work, go to school, and live without fear of deportation herself, yet every day she still worried that her mother would be deported. Fortunately, Diana's mom will qualify for this new program because Diana's siblings are US citizens.

While the newspapers and pundits may analyze last night's announcement and chalk it up to good policy or political maneuvering, we know this is the result of years of fearless, tireless organizing by members like Martha and Diana and undocumented families across the country. Today we celebrate the courage, vision, and relentless commitment of our members and thank you for helping to make this victory possible. We also know that our work is not done, and in the coming days, weeks, and months we will be doing the hard work of making this victory a reality for tens of thousands of families in Tennessee. TIRRC is leading efforts to inform immigrants about the policy change, protect them from legal services fraud, convene local governments and partners to help them prepare to apply, and once the applications are released, we will work with member organizations and pro bono attorneys to help eligible immigrants apply for the new forms of deportation relief. Even as we implement the victory, we must also defend it. It is more important than ever that our we all come together and stand with immigrant families, knowing that many Tennessee politicians are already working to reverse or undermine our victory.

This announcement is also bittersweet; we know it didn't go far enough or come soon enough. Since taking office, the President has deported more than two million people who were not able to celebrate the announcement with their families last night, and although millions of people will benefit from the policy change, millions more were excluded. Parents of DREAMers will continue to live in fear of being separated from their children, and by tying access to relief to having children in the US, millions of immigrants, including many of our LGBTQ members, have been excluded. We will continue to organize until the whole community is protected from deportation and more permanent immigration reform has passed. But last night affirmed that when we organize, we win huge victories that transform lives on a large scale. 

Thank you to everyone who has worked over the last decade to make this moment possible. We are honored to be in the trenches alongside of each you, and together, we make Tennessee a more just and welcoming state each day.

Lindsey Harris & Stephanie Teatro
Interim Co-Directors

NPT's Storyteller's Project: TIRRC's 2014 Annual Convention

Nashville Public Television recently did a Storytellers video workshop at the Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition’s 11th Annual Membership Convention. Here’s a short video produced in conjunction with TIRRC that features some of the day’s events and highlights TIRRC’s ongoing commitment to developing leaders within the immigrant community.



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.”