News

Nashville Immigration Lawyer Uses Sign to Send Trump a Message

“Donald Trump, Make Nashville Great Again – Please Leave Soon!” is the message on a marquee outside of Ozment Law Offices on Murfreesboro Pike in Nashville, WKRN reports. “I don’t think it has sunk into the minds of America yet that he has called for U.S. citizen children to be deported with their undocumented parents,” immigration lawyer Elliott Ozment said. Presidential hopeful Trump is scheduled to speak at the National Federation of Republican Assemblies this Saturday in Nashville.

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Tennessee Attorney to Speak on Immigration Law This Fall

Chattanooga attorney Terrence L. Olsen of the Olsen Law Firm will be giving immigration law presentations to international students on Sept. 2 at Southern Adventist University, and on Sept. 3 at Chattanooga State Community College. Olsen will also present in Huntsville, Alabama, at a location later to be announced. Read more information on the program

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Stevenson Named Nashville's Emerging Legal Leader

Attorney Joycelyn A. Stevenson was among community leaders honored last night at the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce and YP Nashville's annual Nashville Emerging Leader Awards ceremony at Lipscomb University. Stevenson, a shareholder at Littler Mendelson, was named a leader in the legal services category. She practices labor and employment and business immigration law. The Tennessean has the full list of award winners.

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House Votes to Block Funds to ‘Sanctuary Cities’

The U.S. House of Representatives voted last week to block federal crime-fighting funds from going to so-called “sanctuary cities” where police do not routinely report undocumented immigrants to federal authorities. About 150 large cities in the country have such policies, the Columbia Daily Herald reports. The bill was approved 241-179, largely along party lines. The president has threatened to veto the measure.

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ICE, Nashville Police Settle Suit Over Warrantless Raid

The ACLU announced today that the Nashville Police Department and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) have settled claims brought on behalf of victims of a 2010 warrantless raid in Nashville. The city of Nashville agreed to pay $10,000 and the federal government agreed to pay $300,000 to settle all claims, and ICE granted the noncitizen plaintiffs deferred action status for seven years. The ACLU Immigrants’ Rights Project, ACLU of Tennessee, and the law firms of Ozment Law and Hughes Socol Piers Resnick & Dym Ltd. brought the suit on behalf of numerous residents. The Tennessean has more.

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Demonstrators Take Over Democrats' Presidential Event

A town hall for liberal activists featuring two Democratic presidential candidates was interrupted by dozens of demonstrators on Saturday who shouted down the contenders and demanded they address criminal justice issues and police brutality. Former Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders planned to participate in a public sit-down interview when demonstrators from the Black Alliance for Just Immigration took the stage. WCYB has more from CNN.

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Programs Will Focus on I-9 Employment

Chattanooga attorney Terrance L. Olsen will give I-9 Employment presentations in Nashville on Aug. 4, in Chattanooga in late September and in Lexington, Kentucky, in early November. The presentations will address how to understand, apply and adhere to an I-9 compliance system; how to develop, install and maintain a self-audit system; and how to be aware of, communicate through and comply with federal & state I-9 penalties and punishments, the Chattanoogan reports.

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Immigration Group Seeks Legal Advocate

Nashville-based Justice for Our Neighbors (JFON) is seeking a bilingual legal advocate to support the work of two attorneys assisting immigrants with their immigration legal needs. The legal advocate will assist with interpretation, translation, client intake, document preparation, scheduling and other administrative tasks. Applicants should speak, read and write English and Spanish fluently. Though a law degree is not required, previous experience in a law office setting is preferred. Get more information about the position.

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ICE Issues New Policy on Transgender Detainees

Federal immigration authorities will consider making decisions about housing, clothing and pronouns used for transgender detainees based on the gender they identify with, officials said yesterday. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) also will start tracking data for transgender detainees, train detention staff and draft individual plans for transgender detainees to deal with issues such as hormone therapy and safety. The move comes in the wake of criticism from advocates who say transgender individuals face an increased risk of sexual assault in detention. WRCB-TV has more from the Associated Press.

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New Website Presents Database of Collateral Consequences of Conviction

A new National Inventory of Collateral Consequences of Conviction is now available through a website produced by the National Institute of Justice and the American Bar Association’s Criminal Justice Section. The interactive site lets attorneys select one or more jurisdiction in the database, then identify legal sanctions and restrictions imposed. The work is part of the ABA’s efforts to reform collateral consequences so that they serve public safety goals, but do not impose high social and economic costs.

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Senate Denies Funds for Lawyers for Immigrant Children

A Senate panel today blocked President Barack Obama’s request for $50 million to pay for legal help for unaccompanied immigrant children coming to the United States after fleeing violence in Central America. Under federal law, immigrant children have two options to seek legal status, including requesting asylum for fear of returning home to face gang violence. Without legal help, the maze of documentation and legal requirements is far more difficult for a child to maneuver, the Washington Times reports.

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New Immigration Judges Hired for the Memphis Court

EOIR has hired two new immigration judges for the Memphis court — Matthew W. Kaufman and Richard J. Averwater. Both judges began working in Memphis on June 1 for training. They will take the bench and begin hearing their own dockets the week of July 6.

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Appeals Court Maintains Stay on Immigration Orders

Voting 2-1, the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals today upheld a trial judge’s nationwide preliminary injunction against President Obama’s executive actions on immigration. “Because the government is unlikely to succeed on the merits of its appeal of the injunction, we deny the motion for stay and the request to narrow the scope of the injunction,” Judge Jerry Smith wrote. Arguments on the merits of the case are tentatively scheduled for early July, the National Law Journal reports.

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New Citizens Welcomed at Court Ceremony

Naturalization ceremonies were conducted last week at the federal courthouse in Hamilton County for 97 persons representing 30 countries. Judge Sandy Mattice presided according to the Chattanoogan. As is customary, local DAR chapters welcomed the new citizens and held a reception afterwards.

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UT Immigration Clinic Raising Funds for Legal Fellow

Karla McKanders, an associate professor at the University of Tennessee College of Law and director of the school’s Immigration Clinic, is raising money through “VOLStarter.com” – an online platform designed to raise money exclusively for university projects – to fund an immigration fellow at the clinic. The new fellow would provide legal assistance to children who have escaped violence, abuse and neglect in their home countries, as well as work closely with students on such cases. McKanders hopes to raise $10,000 to pay for travel, supplies and educational material.

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Panel Looks at Immigrant Birth Issues

Babies born in the United States to noncitizen parents would no longer be automatically granted citizenship under a proposal debated at a congressional hearing yesterday, the Tennessean reports. The House Subcommittee on Immigration held a hearing on so-called “birthright citizenship” as well as the issue of “birth tourism,” which refers to pregnant women from other countries who travel to America to deliver their children. Tennessee representatives Phil Roe, Scott DesJarlais and John Duncan have signed on to legislation to limit citizenship.

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Legislative Session Wraps Up

State lawmakers finished their work for the 2015 legislative session just before 10 p.m. last night, the Tennessean reports. Among the bills passed yesterday, lawmakers approved an additional exemption to the Hall tax on investment income, new rules for ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft, and the use of cannabis oil to treat seizures. Among the bills that failed to advance were measures allowing undocumented immigrants’ children who grew up in Tennessee to pay in-state tuition at public colleges and universities (which lost by one vote), allowing residents of parts of cities to de-annex territory, and banning alcohol sales to people with three or more drunken driving convictions. See a break down of more legislative winners and losers from the Associated Press.

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SBA Official in Nashville Today

Maria Contreras-Sweet, head of the U.S. Small Business Administration, highlighted immigrant entrepreneurs during a stop in Nashville today, the Nashville Business Journal reports. Contreras-Sweet joined Mayor Karl Dean at Conexion Americas this morning to highlight the city’s efforts to make immigrants feel welcome. Those actions include establishing the Mayor’s Office of New Americans and launching programs to connect immigrants and refugees with government resources. This afternoon, she gave the keynote address at a luncheon hosted by the Latin American Chamber of Commerce.

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DOJ Asks Court to Lift Stay on Immigration Actions

A federal appeals court today appeared divided over the Obama administration's request to lift a lower court ruling that blocked the government from implementing the president’s executive actions to shield undocumented immigrants from deportation and grant them work permits. In February, a Texas federal judge halted Obama’s deferred-action program to consider a suit filed by 26 states. The Justice Department appealed the decision to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. A three-judge panel of that court peppered lawyers from the Justice Department and the state of Texas with questions about whether Obama acted within his rights when he enacted the new policies. The Washington Post has more.

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Tea Party Speaker Will Address Federal/State Relations

Nashville attorney Joanne Bregman will be the Chattanooga Tea Party’s guest speaker tomorrow at 6:30 p.m. at The Century Club Banquet Hall, 3221 Harrison Pike, the Chattanoogan reports. Bregman has been involved in policy work at the Tennessee legislature and will speak on the constitutional relationship between federal, state and local governments, especially involving refugee resettlement programs.

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Judge Allows Undocumented Children to Seek Legal Counsel

U.S. District Court Judge Thomas Zilly yesterday rejected the Justice Department’s motion to dismiss a lawsuit seeking to secure legal representation for a group of undocumented children who face deportation. The ACLU filed the suit on behalf of Salvadoran siblings who entered America to escape gang violence. Federal officials argued it would be too expensive to provide legal representation in immigration cases.  Politico has more on the story.

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TALS Seeks Presenters for Equal Justice Conference

The Tennessee Alliance for Legal Services (TALS) is seeking presenters to speak at this year’s Equal Justice University set for Sept. 2-4 at the Embassy Suites Hotel in Murfreesboro. The conference, cosponsored by the TBA, is the annual gathering for Tennessee’s Access to Justice community. Speakers are sought to provide substantive law courses, ethics and professionalism training, and technology and communications skills. Send proposals by May 15 to TALS’ Policy & Training Director Anne Fox.

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ABA Launches New App to Aid Pro Bono Attorneys Representing Unaccompanied Immigrant Children

The American Bar Association Working Group on Unaccompanied Immigrant Minors has launched the ICAN Yammer group, an online and free mobile application resource. Accessible by invitation only, the app is an interactive resource that allows volunteer attorneys and mentors to post questions on legal representation of unaccompanied minors, receive answers from national immigration experts and share documents.

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White House Criticizes Ruling on Immigration Plan

A federal judge has wrongly prevented "lawful, commonsense policies" from taking effect by blocking President Barack Obama's executive action that seeks to shield millions of immigrants from deportation, the White House said today. The administration released a statement criticizing U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen's decision to keep a temporary hold on the president's policies. The U.S. Department of Justice had asked Hanen to lift the stay, but the Texas judge refused in a ruling late Tuesday night. The Greeneville Sun has the story from the Associated Press.

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Legal Aid Gets Grant for Immigrant Clinic

The Nashville Bar Foundation has awarded a $10,000 grant to the Legal Aid Society of Middle Tennessee and the Cumberlands (LAS) to continue outreach to Nashville’s immigrant and refugee community. The funds will support an ongoing free walk-in legal clinic at Casa Azafrán, the city’s only general legal advice program for these population groups. The clinic is held the third Friday of the month.

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