News

National Immigration Conference Coming to Nashville

The Ninth Annual National Immigrant Integration Conference (NIIC) will take place in Nashville next week on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday. The conference will feature leading voices on immigration and civil rights as well as those affected personally by immigration policies. Among those sharing personal stories will be Eddie Huang, who will speak at 2 p.m. Sunday on “Breaking Bread: Food, Culture and Immigration.” Widely known as the chef and owner of a popular Taiwanese restaurant in New York City, Huang also has produced several projects under the moniker "Fresh Off the Boat," including a memoir, a travelogue and a sitcom. Register for the full conference or RSVP for the complimentary Huang presentation.

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Senators Planning Bill to Give ‘DREAMers’ Legal Status

Two U.S. senators are working to give young undocumented immigrants legal status, possibly before President-elect Donald Trump takes office, Roll Call reports. Senate Minority Whip Richard Durbin, D-Illinois, and Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-South Carolina, reportedly are drafting legislation to protect the so-called “DREAMERs” – undocumented immigrants who came to the states as children and meet the requirements of federal law. The pair decided to act after President Barack Obama said he would not pardon the young people.

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Community Legal Center (CLC) in Memphis Seeks Joint Immigration Pro Bono Coordinator

The Community Legal Center (CLC) in Memphis is seeking a Joint Immigration Pro Bono Coordinator who will work under the direction of the Executive Director to recruit, train, mentor and supervise volunteer attorneys in Memphis and throughout the State of Tennessee.  To learn more about this job opportunity, see the TBA Joblink posting

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Group Seeks Immigration Lawyer in Memphis

The Community Legal Center (CLC) in Memphis is seeking a Joint Immigration Pro Bono Coordinator with at least three years of experience as a practicing attorney and at least two years working in the field of immigration. The attorney will work with Memphis-area nonprofit immigration legal service providers (including the CLC, Latino Memphis and Mid-South Immigration Advocates) in recruiting, training, mentoring and supervising volunteer attorneys handling immigration cases in Tennessee, Arkansas and North Mississippi. For additional details and information on applying see the group's JobLink listing.

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Juvenile Law Annual Forum Coming Soon

The TBA will host its annual Juvenile Law CLE on Dec. 1 at the Tennessee Bar Center in Nashville. Speakers will include representatives from Vanderbilt’s Center of Excellence for Children in State Custody and the Tennessee Department of Children’s Services (DCS). Sessions will cover case law updates, immigration issues in juvenile court, and using medical evidence in severe abuse cases. A panel on DCS administrative hearings and policies and a session on ethical issues in juvenile courts will round out the day. Learn more or register online.

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Tennessee Hosting 4 Equal Justice Works Fellows

Tennessee is benefiting from the services of four Equal Justice Works fellows. It is the first time in more than 10 years that the state has had any fellows, according to the Tennessee Alliance for Legal Services (TALS). That group is hosting Kirsten Jacobson in its office. Elder Justice Fellow Matt Schwimmer is serving with West Tennessee Legal Services in Jackson. Elder Justice Fellow Sara Dodson is serving with the Tennessee Justice Center in Nashville. And Immigrant Defense Fellow Valeria Gomez is working with Justice AmeriCorps and VIDA in Knoxville. TALS credits the work of the state Supreme Court, which has made pro bono a strategic priority, and the support of the state’s legal aid providers in making these fellowships a reality.

Photo from left: Jacobson, Gomez, Schwimmer, Dodson

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2 Clinics Planned for Oct. 22 in Memphis

Two legal clinics will take place in Memphis Oct. 22. The Midtown Legal Clinic, sponsored by Memphis Area Legal Services, will be held from 10 a.m. to noon at Idlewild Presbyterian Church, 1750 Union Ave. To volunteer or for questions, email midtownlegalclinic@gmail.com. From noon to 4 p.m., the Community Legal Center, Latino Memphis, Mid-South Immigration Advocates, Catholic Charities of West Tennessee and World Relief team up to host a “Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals” clinic to help children and young adults apply for the federal program. The clinic will be held at Latino Memphis, 6041 Mt. Moriah Rd. Spanish language skills are not required. Come at noon for a volunteer training session and lunch. Contact Emily Stotts with any questions.

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Senate Hires Michigan Legal Group for Refugee Lawsuit

The Tennessee Senate has hired the conservative Christian Thomas More Law Center to represent it in a federal lawsuit attempting to block refugee resettlement in the state after state Attorney General Herbert H. Slatery III declined to take the case. The House is likely to approve the hire, but nothing has been formalized yet, the Tennessean reports. The Michigan-based legal group will represent the state for free in the nation’s first lawsuit to challenge the federal government for noncompliance with the Refugee Act of 1980 based on the 10th Amendment. The move comes after lawmakers overwhelmingly approved a resolution earlier this year in support of a lawsuit.

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800+ Immigrants Mistakenly Granted Citizenship

The U.S. government has mistakenly granted citizenship to at least 858 immigrants from “special interest countries” – those with national security concerns or with high rates of immigration fraud – according to a Department of Homeland Security audit released Monday. The department’s inspector general found that the immigrants used different names or birth dates to apply for citizenship and were not caught because their fingerprints were missing from government databases. The report also found that fingerprint records are missing for as many as 315,000 immigrants with final deportation orders or who are fugitive criminals. WRCB-TV has the story from the Associated Press.

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Justice Department Made Error in Data Provided to Court

The U.S. Justice Department has told the Supreme Court that it made “several significant errors” when providing information about immigrant detentions for a 2003 case, the ABA Journal reports. The department recently reviewed statistics for an upcoming case and discovered it had underestimated the time some immigrants spend in detention. It now says the time is closer to one year rather than the five months originally claimed. The court called the five-month period a “very limited time of detention” and relied on that fact in deciding it was constitutional to deny bail to immigrants with criminal records who were being held while appealing their deportation order.

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New Entrepreneurial Visa Proposed

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services proposed a new rule Friday that would allow international entrepreneurs additional years of U.S. residency to start and build their businesses, the Upstart Business Journal reports. The International Entrepreneur Rule would allow startup founders to stay in the United States for up to two years, followed by a period of up to three years if they meet “additional benchmarks.” Factors to be considered include the entrepreneur’s ownership stake and leadership role, the growth potential of the startup, success in securing competitive research grants, and investment by qualified American investors.

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Trump: Values Test, ‘Extreme Vetting’ for Immigrants

In a speech today, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump called for “extreme vetting” of immigrants and use of a new ideological test to assess an immigrant's likely support for "American values" of tolerance, pluralism and religious freedom. It is the latest version of his position, which began with a call to temporarily bar all foreign Muslims and then morphed into a temporary ban on immigrants from areas with a history of terrorism. WRCB-TV has more from the Associated Press.

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Lawyers Donate $76,000 to Access to Justice Efforts

More than $76,000 has been donated by Tennessee attorneys to organizations that serve low-income individuals in need of legal assistance, the Administrative Office of the Courts reports. The donations come as part of the annual licensing registration process. Starting in 2015, attorneys were given the option to donate to an Access to Justice Fund when renewing their licenses. Organizations receiving funds this year are the Community Legal Center, Disability Rights Tennessee, Legal Aid of East Tennessee, Legal Aid Society, Memphis Area Legal Services, Southeast Tennessee Legal Services, Tennessee Coalition to End Domestic and Sexual Violence, Tennessee Justice Center, Tennessee Justice for Our Neighbors, Volunteer Lawyers and Professionals for the Arts, and West Tennessee Legal Services.

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DOJ Asks Court to Rehear Immigration Case

The U.S. Department of Justice yesterday asked the Supreme Court for a rehearing of a case challenging President Barack Obama’s executive actions on immigration as soon as a ninth justice is appointed. The administration said there should be a definitive decision on the merits of the executive actions instead of the 4-4 split by the high court that left an appellate court decision striking the actions in place, but did not set precedent on the issue. WRCB-TV has the Associated Press story.

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ACLU Vows to Challenge Numerous Trump Policies

The ACLU is vowing to file constitutional challenges to several of presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s policies if he is elected and tries to implement them. These include Trump’s call for a “total and complete” ban on Muslims entering the United States, creation of a “deportation force” to round up the undocumented, surveillance or registration of mosques and American Muslims, use of waterboarding, changes to libel laws so media outlets can be sued, bulk collection of metadata, and punishment for doctors who perform abortions. The ABA Journal looks at the ACLU's positions.

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No Refugee Resettlement Suit from State AG

Tennessee Attorney General Herbert Slatery will not sue the federal government over its refugee resettlement program, the Tennessean reports. In a letter yesterday to the clerks of the state Senate and House of Representatives, Slatery responded to a General Assembly resolution passed earlier this year that demanded legal action. The letter delegates authority to sue to the General Assembly’s staff attorneys, should lawmakers still wish to pursue legal action.

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Deadlocked High Court Halts Obama Immigration Orders

The Supreme Court today issued rulings on several pressing issues including affirmative action, discrimination and immigration. The court’s 4-4 ruling on President Obama’s executive actions on immigration means that a lower court ruling blocking the programs will remain in effect. In Tennessee, immigrant advocates expressed outrage. “This is a devastating loss, not only for affected families but for our entire state,” Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Co-Executive Director Stephanie Teatro told The Tennessean. Attorney General Herbert Slatery, however, hailed the decision, saying "this lawsuit is not about immigration. It is about the rule of law, presidential power, and the structural limits of the U.S. Constitution." The Supreme Court also upheld the University of Texas's practice of using applicants’ race as a factor in admissions. The 4-3 ruling greenlights the limited use of affirmative action policies by schools, CNN reports. The court also ruled 7-1 in favor of a Georgia death row inmate’s discrimination claim. The ruling found, in part, that prosecutors made a “concerted effort to keep black prospective jurors off the jury.”

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Court Still to Rule on Most Controversial Cases

The U.S. Supreme Court issued five decisions Monday, including rulings (1) upholding a patent review procedure known as inter partes review, which has been used by Apple and Google to invalidate patents; (2) directing lower courts in Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi to re-examine three convictions for evidence of racial prejudice in jury selection; and (3) directing the U.S. Labor Department to do a better job of explaining why it is changing a longstanding policy on whether certain workers deserve overtime pay. With just one week left in the court’s current term, however, the most contentious cases still need to be resolved, including regulation of Texas abortion clinics, the use of race in college admissions, the legality of the president’s immigration executive orders, and the public corruption conviction of Virginia’s former governor. WKRN looks at the remaining cases.

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Pro Bono CLE: Immigrant Children and Tennessee Family Courts

A live broadcast CLE Friday at several Baker Donelson offices will train non-immigration-law practitioners on how to aid eligible unaccompanied children with obtaining predicate state court orders for Special Immigrant Juvenile Status. Immigrant Children and Tennessee Family Courts: Challenges and Avenues for Relief is scheduled from noon - 2 p.m. EDT and approved for two hours of CLE credit. The course is free if you agree to take a case pro-bono. You may choose the location you want to attend through the online registration.

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Judge Asked to Issue Warrant in International Custody Dispute

A pair of Memphis attorneys have asked Chief U.S. District Judge Tom Varlan to issue an arrest warrant for an undocumented immigrant, who is currently missing with her son. The request is on behalf of the boy’s father. Varlan last month ordered the mother, who was living illegally in Knoxville, to return the boy to Mexico in a rare case brought under The Hague Convention of 1980 International Child Abduction Remedies Act. Read more from the Knoxville News Sentinel

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JFON to Host Seminar May 19 in Nashville

Tennessee Justice for Our Neighbors will host a seminar in Nashville for lawyers and paralegals who want to help unaccompanied immigrant children remain in the United States. The seminar is planned for May 19, 2-5 p.m. at Casa Azafran, 2195 Nolensville Pike. Online pre-registration for the course is required. The event is free, but contributions are welcome. 

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House Approves Call to Sue Over Refugee Resettlement

The state House approved a measure (SJR 0467) last night that would order Attorney General Herbert Slately to sue the federal government over a refugee resettlement program. The Senate previously approved the measure and must now sign off on a change that would allow a private law firm to sue on behalf of the state before the measure becomes law, The Associated Press reports. “The passage of this resolution, and the litigation that will follow, puts Tennessee on the wrong side of history,” said Stephanie Teatro, co-executive director of the Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition. 

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Register Today for the 135th Annual TBA Convention

Join us on June 15-18 in Nashville for the 135th Annual Convention! Registration for the 2016 TBA Convention includes:

  • free access to all TBA CLE programming;
  • the Opening Reception;
  • the Bench Bar Programming and Luncheon;
  • Law School and general breakfasts;
  • the Lawyers Luncheon;
  • the Thursday evening Joint (TBA/TLAW/TABL) Reception;
  • the Thursday night dinner and entertainment at the George Jones Museum;
  • and the Friday night Dance Party.

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Fundraiser to Benefit Tennessee Justice for Our Neighbors

Bone McAllester Norton will host a fundraiser on April 21 for Tennessee Justice for Our Neighbors to support humanitarian immigration legal services for undocumented immigrants in Middle Tennessee. Funds will help protect victims of war, trafficking and abuse. The event, sponsored by Sherrard and Roe PLC, is scheduled for 5:30-7 p.m. at Bone McAllester Norton, located at Nashville City Center, 511 Union St., Suite #1600. A $50 contribution is suggested.

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Spanish for Lawyers Series Available Online

The Tennessee Bar Association and the Tennessee Foreign Language Institute offer the Spanish for Lawyers Series, which focuses on communication skills for lawyers with Spanish-speaking clients. The online CLE courses include Basic Skills and Introductions, The Law Office and Client Interview, and Criminal Law. Each course offers one hour of dual credit.

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