TIRRC advocates for fair and humane immigration policies that keep families together and respect the civil, labor, and human rights of all people in our country. We support an earned pathway to citizenship, the right for separated family members to reunite, safe, and sensible channels for new immigrant workers and families, and a robust integration program that helps to create vibrant and welcoming communities. In order for our country to move forward, we need common sense immigration reform that upholds our nation's values of family, hard work, and fairness.
However, since January 2017, President Trump has been carrying out his draconian campaign promises to restrict immigration and scale up mass deportations. We’re resisting and fighting for immigrants' right to remain in Tennessee and their right to come here in the first place.
Trump's Executive Orders
In January 2017, President Trump signed three sweeping executive orders that fundamentally shift our immigration system. By signing these executive orders, the president made clear that he’ll do everything in his power to implement his dark vision of America that was outlined in his campaign and election speeches. These orders were just the first in a series of actions that discriminate against people based on where they’re from or how they worship, creating a climate of fear and chaos in immigrant communities, and undermining our values and fundamental principles.
MASS DEPORTATION EXECUTIVE ORDER
On Wednesday, January 25th, the president signed two executive orders to begin his campaign of mass deportations. Below are the top 10 things you need to know about the orders.
NOTE: A federal judge has temporarily blocked some of the sections of these orders from being implemented. While the cases are still making their way through the courts, Attorney General Jeff Sessions has conceded some crucial points related to the order, namely that they cannot withhold any or all funding from so-called sanctuary cities.
REFUGEE AND MUSLIM BAN EXECUTIVE ORDER
On Friday, January 27th, the president signed an executive to shut down the refugee resettlement program and ban all immigrants from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen. Below are the top 10 things you need to know about the order.
NOTE: After national backlash and litigation, the Trump administration rescinded the order and issued a revised executive order in an effort to pass legal muster and avoid the chaotic implementation that plagued the first order. For example, Iraq was no longer included in the list of countries affected by the ban, Syrian refugees were not indefinitely banned but rather subject to the same 120 moratorium as refugees from all other countries, and green card holders were not affected. However, the intent and impact of this sweeping executive order remained in tact. The Supreme Court is scheduled to hear arguments in October 2017, but the justices are allowing the administration to enforce parts of the ban. Specifically, the government can bar entry for 90 days of any refugee or national from any of six countries if such individuals cannot credibly claim a “bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the U.S.”
From the fight for comprehensive immigration reform, the DREAM Act, to defending our immigrant communities in Trump’s America, we advocate at the congressional level to enact laws that are fair, humane, and that keep families together, and we work to prevent harmful policies from becoming law.
President Trump isn't alone in his work to build up a deportation force. Tennessee elected officials are making it easier for the federal government to enable his anti-immigrant agenda. We're watching Congress and tracking how our representatives vote on every anti-immigrant bill this year. Stay tuned for ways you can take action to ensure these bills do not become law.
HR 2213 - Lowering Standards for Border Patrol Agents
Status: Passed the House of Representatives in June 2017; Referred to Senate Committee on Homeland Security
This bill expands President Trump's mass deportation force by weakening hiring standards for Custom and Border Protection (CBP) applicants, despite the agency’s rampant history of abuse and corruption. Here is an op-ed by from a former head of CBP Internal Affairs - James Tomsheck - expressing his deep alarm at HR 2213.
HR 3003 - Anti-Sanctuary City Bill
Status: Passed the House of Representatives in June 2017; Not yet introduced in Senate
This bill punishes cities that pass common-sense policies to promote public safety by keeping local law enforcement out of federal immigration enforcement. Read more here.
HR 3004 - Criminalizing Immigrants, Fueling Detention
Status: Passed the House of Representatives in June 2017; Not yet introduced in Senate
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. Read more here.
2018 Congressional Budget
President Trump is looking to congress to fund his mass deportation force, and he’s asked congress to set aside billions to detain and deport even more immigrants, hire thousands of additional immigration officers, build a wall between the U.S. and Mexico, and make devastating cuts to the refugee resettlement program.
We’ll be fighting alongside our national partners set the right priorities for our families and our communities, including keeping immigrant families together. The creation of a mass detention force must be stopped from becoming a reality.
Stay tuned for more information on how you can take action!
Temporary Protected Status (TPS)
Temporary Protected Status (TPS) is a form of provisional relief granted to migrants escaping humanitarian crises. It was created nearly 30 years ago through the Immigration Act of 1990 to offer humane protection to foreign nationals living in the U.S. when extraordinary conditions make it impossible for them to return home. Approximately 323,000 TPS nationals from 10 countries (El Salvador, Haiti, Honduras, Nepal, Nicaragua, Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan, Syria, and Yemen) live and work lawfully in the U.S.
Since 2010, Haitians have been eligible to apply for TPS due to the continued widespread damage and destruction in Haiti. But, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has been posturing to terminate TPS for Haitians, which is set to expire on January, 2018. In May 2017, the 60-day deadline to re-designate Haitians for TPS eligibility was extended through activism and advocacy, but the fight is far from over. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is recommending that the U.S. end TPS for Haitians altogether, and the Associated Press reports that the Trump administration has begun to seek information about crimes committed by Haitian immigrants as it decides the future of TPS for this group of people. Many of the 58,000 Haitians living across the United States will face deportation if the program is not extended.
Advocates across the country are working hard to convince key decision makers that extending TPS is the right thing to do. Locally, TIRRC is urging Senator Corker, as Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, to take steps to extend TPS given that Haiti's stability is in the national security interest of the United States. Failure to extend TPS would be disastrous for families here in the U.S. and in Haiti, and would be destabilizing to the nation of Haiti.
Take action here.
Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)
In 2012, President Obama signed an executive action granting protection from deportation to hundreds of thousands of individuals who came to the U.S. as children. The program, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) has benefitted over 8,000 undocumented individuals in Tennessee. DACA has been a lifeline allowing individuals to work, drive, and more fully participate in their communities.
TENNESSEE ATTORNEY GENERAL LAUNCHES ATTACK ON DACA
On Thursday, 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 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 our petition here.