News

REMINDER: Seminar on Immigration Enforcement & Removal Processes Scheduled in Chattanooga

Attorney Terrence L. Olsen and Supervisory Detention & Deportation Officer John Bobo will present a seminar on immigration enforcement & removal processes on Feb. 9, 11 a.m. – noon. Bobo will discuss the current Policies for the Apprehension, Detention and Removal of Undocumented Immigrants. The event will be held in Chattanooga at Olsen Law Firm, located in The James Building, 735 Broad Street, Suite 708. 

Below are brief summaries of the two speakers:

  • Terrence L. Olsen of Olsen Law Firm is an attorney in Chattanooga who practices immigration and nationality law exclusively. He was chair of the Immigration Section of the Tennessee Bar Association from 2009 thru 2011, and 2013 through 2014.
  • Officer John Bobo of ICE-ERO-New Orleans Field Office is the Supervisory Detention and Deportation Officer for Chattanooga and Knoxville.

This seminar is open to all attorneys interested in hearing about the current immigration issues one can encounter daily in the practice of immigration law, and throughout 2016. If you plan to attend, email Olsen by Feb. 3. 

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Judge Critiques 'Multiple Conflicts of Interest' in Refugee Case

The reopening of a case of a refugee convicted for child neglect has drawn critique from Nashville Criminal Court Judge Cheryl Blackburn. According to The Tennessean, Blackburn said “that the state did not fulfill its role to defend convictions because prosecutors agreed with defense attorneys that the case should be reopened even before going before a judge.” Blackburn also cited multiple conflicts of interest among prosecutors and defense attorneys.

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Attorney Says Refugee Was 'Steamrolled by the System'

Immigrant advocates say the reopened case of a Burmese refugee exposes a lack of legal education for immigrants, The Tennessean reports. Sawng Hing, who was sentenced in 2012 for child abuse charges, received incorrect interpretations during her hearing because her language of Matu-Chin is so rare. The inaccuracy resulted in Hing being taken to federal prison facing deportation. "Nashville has one of the fastest-growing immigrant populations in the country," said Stephanie Teatro, co-executive director of the Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition. "What that means is for local institutions it can be a challenge to keep up." 

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Federal Authorities Involved in Abduction Case in Knox County

The U.S. State Department and the U.S. Marshals Service are involved in a federal case in Knox County involving a Mexican child living in Knoxville. Eugenio Garduno Guevara had been searching for his son since the mother and boy disappeared from Mexico in 2013. The Knoxville News Sentinel reports attorney Tom Slaughter filed a petition in May 2015 in Knox County Juvenile Court seeking to establish custody of the boy by the mother and listing the pair in Knoxville. The State Department then served notice on the court on behalf of the father’s claims. The U.S. Marshals Service was brought in to track the mother down and serve her with all court records filed in the case thus far.

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Major Court Decisions Expected in 2016

Abortion, affirmative action and immigration are among major decisions expected from the U.S. Supreme Court in 2016, according to the Tribune Washington Bureau. “In several cases, conservatives are hoping the high court will shift current law to the right or block President Barack Obama’s policies, while liberals are defending the status quo,” the author writes.

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Tennessee AG: State Can’t Refuse Syrian Refugees

In an opinion released today, state Attorney General Herbert Slatery says that the supremacy clause of the U.S. Constitution prevents Tennessee from refusing entry of Syrian refugees. He also found that any law or rules the state may enact to limit resettlement would be pre-empted by federal law. However, he found that nothing prevents the state from communicating its preferences and concerns about the refugee resettlement program to the federal government. The opinion was requested by Nashville state Reps. John Ray Clemmons and Jason Powell, and House Democratic Caucus Chair Mike Stewart. The Tennessean has the story.

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Joint Hearing to Discuss Refugee Resettlement

The Knoxville News Sentinel reports State House and Senate committees will hold a joint hearing next month on refugee resettlement in Tennessee. "The attack in Paris serves as another wake-up call that ISIS is serious about embedding the enemy in our communities. This comes on the heels of the terrorist attack in our state this summer. While we want to act humanely in our efforts to help those who legitimately need assistance, we owe it to our citizens to place their safety as our highest priority," Sen. Ken Yager, R-Kingston, said.

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TIRRC Seeks Support for Refugee Resettlement Programs

The Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition (TIRRC) is asking organizations to join TIRRC and the ACLU in sending a letter to Gov. Bill Haslam in support of resettlement programs. "Tennessee and the United States have a critical and historic role to play in our current global refugee crisis, the largest displacement of people since World War II," TIRRC writes in its letter to the governor. Haslam announced yesterday he is asking the federal government to suspend the placement of Syrian refugees in Tennessee. The Republican governor also announced, according to the Murfreesboro Post, that the state’s Department of Safety and Homeland Security has been working with the FBI and U.S. Department of Homeland Security and sharing information since the attacks in Paris on Friday.

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Senate Republicans Consider Hearings, Bills on Syrian Immigration

Tennessee Senate Caucus Chair Bill Ketron, R-Murfreesboro, is considering a bill to find out the cost of refugee resettlement in Tennessee, WATE reports. Ketron would look at the cost of teachers for immigrants who do not speak English and state benefits for those eligible such as TennCare. Meanwhile, Sen. Mark Norris, R-Collierville, wants the chamber’s State and Local Government Committee to hold hearings with the Department of Safety and Homeland Security and other groups to learn more about safeguards in place during resettlement. In the last year, 35 Syrians relocated to Tennessee, according to the Refugee Processing Center.

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Obama Administration to Appeal Ruling on Immigration

The Hill reports the Obama administration will file an appeal to the Supreme Court following a Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals ruling that blocks the President’s executive actions on immigration. Obama last November announced up to 5 million illegal immigrants would be eligible for deportation reprieves and work permits if they met certain conditions. A group of GOP-led states, led by Texas, sued to block the administration in federal court. 

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Child Custody, Immigration Law Covered in New TBJ

In the November Tennessee Bar Journal, Memphis lawyer Miles Mason Sr. details what you need to know about an independent child custody evaluation, and Nashville lawyer Milen Saev considers Kerry v. Din and the consular non-reviewability doctrine. Tennessee Bar Association President Bill Harbison points out the many reasons why 1881 was a very important year (besides that the TBA was formed!). Read these articles and more.

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UT Law Graduate Shares Experience in Refugee Crisis

University of Tennessee College of Law 2015 graduate William Carey Bateman III wrote about his recent experiences working in Budapest, Hungary, during the refugee crisis in a guest column for The Commercial Appeal. “I didn't know this crisis was afoot when I left the states, but from my earliest moments here I have been made keenly aware of the plight of the refugees and the dilemma facing Hungary and the European Union,” he wrote.

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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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