News

Judge Blocks Law Requiring Birth Certificates for Foreign-Born Marriage Applicants

A federal judge has knocked down a new Louisiana law that required birth certificates from foreign-born marriage applicants, the Associated Press reports. The ruling stemmed from the case of Louisiana resident Viet Anh Vo, who applied for a marriage license with his U.S.-born fiancé and saw it denied two weeks before their wedding. Vo became a U.S. citizen at 8 years old, but had no birth certificate as his family had fled Vietnam as refugees. U.S. District Judge Ivan Lemelle found that the state failed to demonstrate a “compelling governmental interest” in creating a two-tiered system based on whether a citizen was born inside or outside the U.S.

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Save the Date for ‘Tapas for Justice’

Tennessee Justice for Our Neighbors will host a fundraiser this fall in Nashville to support their work of providing legal services to immigrants and refugees. The event, called “Tapas for Justice,” will be held at Bass, Berry and Sims, 150 3rd Ave S , from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. on Nov. 2. Tickets are $50 per person and $25 for students. Find out more and RSVP at the JFON website.
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U.S. Citizen Detained by ICE for 3 Years Denied Compensation

An American citizen who was detained by Immigration and Customs for three years was denied a previously awarded judgment by an appeals court, NPR reports. New York resident Davino Watson was detained for three years until he could finally prove he was an American citizen, then was dropped off by ICE in Alabama with no money or resources to get home. A district judge awarded him $82,500 in damages, but the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals overruled the decision, because the statute of limitations had expired while he was still in ICE custody.
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Stronger Punishments for Undocumented Immigrants Creates Dilemma for Prosecutors

The New York Times examines new difficulties prosecutors face in dealing with undocumented immigrants in the tough-on-immigration Trump era. In some cases, closing plea deals for minor crimes can lead to deportation. Such problems could ignite further local-versus-federal conflicts. One example in the story highlights the dilemma of prosecuting a 23-year-old Washington college student for driving under the influence. A Seattle prosecutor said he previously believed that every defendant should be treated the same regardless of circumstances, but in this case he ended up allowing the student to plead guilty to the lesser crime of reckless driving to save her from the “life sentence of deportation.”
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Immigration Lawyers Say They See Changes in ICE Priorities

Several Tennessee immigration lawyers tell the Chattanooga Times Free Press that they are seeing shifting priorities from Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents. Chattanooga attorney Terry Olsen says that in 15 years he has never before seen clients face detainment or removal proceedings when they were applying to become permanent residents. An ICE spokesman declined to comment.

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SCOTUS Allows Extended Family Exemptions to Travel Ban

The U.S. Supreme Court today allowed a lower court’s decision to stand that would exempt grandparents, grandchildren and other extended family members from the Trump administration’s travel ban, the ABA Journal reports. The Court did block a portion of U.S. District Judge Derrick Watson’s ruling that exempted from the travel ban refugees who have formal help from a resettlement agency.
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Judge Expands Family Members Excluded from Travel Ban, Trump Administration to Appeal

A federal judge in Hawaii has weakened the Trump administration’s travel ban by expanding the list of family relationships that could qualify visitors for entry into the U.S., the Associated Press reports. U.S. District Judge Derrick Watson ordered the government not to enforce the ban on grandparents, grandchildren, brothers-in-law, sisters-in-law, uncles, aunts, nieces, nephews and cousins of people in the U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions said today that the administration will appeal the decision to the U.S. Supreme Court, whose justices allowed the ban to take effect last month.
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Item of Interest

Below is an article that was published in the the Disability Section Connect. We thought it had information that would be of interest to those of you in this section as well.  

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U.S. House Budget Proposal Would Cut LSC by 24%

The proposed budget for fiscal year 2018 from the U.S. House of Representatives includes money for the Legal Services Corporation but cuts its funding by 24 percent, the ABA Journal reports. It is a departure from the Trump administration’s budget, which slashes LSC funding entirely. The House budget also includes big increases in funding for immigration enforcement, with a $64.5 million hike for the Executive Office for Immigration Review and an extra $82 million for the U.S. Marshals Service to support an increased detainee population.
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Knox Co. Sheriff Approved for ICE Partnership

The Knox County Sheriff’s Office has entered into a partnership with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to act on its behalf, WBIR reports. The agreement is a part of the controversial 287 (g) program that critics say leads to significantly higher deportations for minor offenses. Knox County Sheriff JJ Jones believes it will make the Knox County detention facility more efficient. The agreement was signed on June 15 and is valid until June 2019.
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Tennessee, 9 Other States Threaten Suit Over Immigrants Brought to U.S. as Children

Attorney General Herbert Slatery has joined nine other state attorneys general and one governor in signing a letter to U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions urging the Trump administration to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which allows young immigrants who entered the U.S. illegally as children to stay in the country. The Tennessean reports that the signees threaten to challenge the program if the federal government does not agree to phase it out.
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Federal Judge Rules Immigration Agents Violated Rights of Detained Juveniles

A judge ruled this week that U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials have been violating the rights of detained immigrant juveniles, the ABA Journal reports. Los Angeles federal district judge Dolly Gee found that some facilities fail to meet the standards set by a 1997 settlement, with infractions such as spotty access to clean water, insufficient food, poor sleeping conditions and intentional use of air conditioning to create very cold temperatures. The ruling also found instances of juveniles being detained for longer than the allowed 20-day waiting period.
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State Department Adopting Guidelines to Define ‘Family Ties’ for Travel Ban Exemptions

The U.S. State Department has reportedly adopted guidelines to define which immigrants are exempt from the Trump administration’s recently reinstated travel ban, the ABA Journal reports. The guidelines say that immigrants with close family or business ties to the United States will be allowed to enter, as required by the Supreme Court ruling that allowed the ban to take effect. The guidelines define close family as a parent (including an in-law), spouse, child (including in-laws), and sibling (including stepsibling or half-sibling). It does not include grandparent, aunt, uncle, grandchild, niece, nephew, cousin or a fiancé. Also allowed are those who have a relationship with a U.S. entity that is “formal, documented, and formed in the ordinary course, rather than for the purpose of evading” the ban.
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Controversial Immigration Ordinance Dead in Nashville

Metro Nashville Councilmembers sponsoring the “Nashville Together” immigration ordinance will withdraw their bills after Mayor Megan Barry called on the council to rethink the legislation, The Tennessean reports. The legislation sought to prevent Metro from using city funds and facilities to enforce federal immigration law unless the action was accompanied by a federal warrant signed by a judge. Metro Director of Law Jon Cooper issued a legal opinion that said the ordinance is not enforceable.
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Nashville Director of Law Says Immigration Ordinance Not Enforceable

An opinion from Metro Nashville’s Director of Law has the mayor asking the council to reconsider a controversial immigration ordinance proposed by the Metro Council, The Tennessean reports. Director of Law Jon Cooper said in an opinion that under state law the Metro Council cannot prevent the Nashville sheriff from cooperating with federal immigration authorities. Mayor Megan Barry said in a statement that the council should rethink the bill, which advanced on first reading last week. The “Nashville Together” ordinance would prohibit Nashville from using local resources to assist in enforcing federal immigration laws.
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Learn About Immigration Law for Employers in Trump Era

A webcast presentation on July 6 from Bruce Buchanan will address how immigration law is undergoing massive changes that will directly affect employers. Some of the areas that will see change include immigration compliance, an increase in ICE audits and a possible return to raids. Visas could also see change, especially H-1B and L visas. Find out more and register here.

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Supreme Court to Consider Travel Ban, Allows Limited Version into Effect

The U.S. Supreme Court will consider President Donald Trump’s travel ban this fall and will allow a limited version to take effect in the meantime, The Washington Post reports. The court made one exception: the ban “may not be enforced against foreign nationals who have a credible claim of a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States.” The ruling means that the administration may impose a 90-day ban on travelers from six countries and a 120-day ban on all refugees entering the U.S. It will go into effect 72 hours after court approval.
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Court Gives Memphis Man 2nd Chance in Drug, Deportation Case

A Memphis restaurant owner in jail and facing deportation after pleading guilty to a drug charge 7½ years ago will get another chance in court after the U.S. Supreme Court today vacated his conviction on grounds that he had been given bad legal advice, the Commercial Appeal reports. “He was really thankful that someone finally understood the harm that his lawyer’s advice caused him,” said Nashville attorney Patrick McNally, who is part of the legal team that handled the appeal.

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GOP Leaders Ask for AG Review of Metro Immigration Proposal

House Speaker Beth Harwell and state Sen. Jim Tracy are asking Tennessee Attorney General Herbert Slatery to issue an opinion on a proposal before the Nashville Metro Council that they say goes against a state ban on “sanctuary cities” passed in 2009, the Tennessean reports. Council sponsors Bob Mendes and Colby Sledge say that’s not the intent of their measure, which would prevent Metro from using public funds and facilities to enforce federal immigration law. "This bill would have us send a message to our immigrant communities that it is safe to engage with Metropolitan government for all the basic local government services that we provide," Mendes said.

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Nashville Council Advances Immigration Enforcement Ordinance

The Metro Nashville Council voted last night to advance an ordinance that would prevent Metro from using city funds and facilities to enforce federal immigration law, The Tennessean reports. The ordinance would also prevent the Davidson County Sheriff’s Office to honor an immigration-related detention request unless it is accompanied by a warrant issued under the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure. Critics said the bill would grant “preferential treatment to a criminal class,” while the bill’s sponsor said it would increase public safety, arguing it would encourage immigrants to report crimes to police without fear of deportation. 
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Nashville Council to Debate Immigration Ordinances

Metro Nashville council members will tonight begin debate of proposed ordinances that would prohibit the county jail from holding people on immigration violations alone and bar local law enforcement from sharing information about custody status and court dates with immigration officials, Nashville Public Radio reports. The proposals from Metro Councilman Bob Mendes are at the center of the debate on how much Davidson County should work with immigration officials.

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Court Clears Way for Review of Immigrant Vetting

A federal appeals court decision Monday clears the way for the Trump administration to conduct internal reviews of other countries' vetting procedures for visa applicants while the broader review of the president’s revised travel ban goes to the U.S. Supreme Court, CNN reports. The decision was part of a larger ruling from a 9th Circuit Court of Appeals panel that largely affirmed a lower court's decision to halt the core provisions of President Trump's revised executive order that attempted to limit travel from six predominately Muslim countries and block refugees.

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Nashville Courthouse Arrest Part of National Trend

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers appeared at a Nashville courthouse on Thursday to arrest an immigrant for deportation, signaling that a growing national trend has come to Tennessee, The Tennessean reports. Faustino Rodriguez Hernandez, who federal authorities say is a citizen of Honduras, was set to appear before General Sessions Judge Lynda Jones for a driving without a license charge, when he was arrested by ICE agents. Nationally, ICE arrests are up by 38 percent from the same period last year.
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Haslam Signs Bill Authorizing Longer Sentences for Undocumented Immigrants

Gov. Bill Haslam signed a bill into law on Friday that authorizes judges to give undocumented immigrants longer sentences for felony convictions than U.S. citizens, Humphrey on the Hill reports. Senate Minority Leader Lee Harris, D-Memphis, said in a statement that the law could be weak to a challenge in court. “I don’t believe any other state has a law like this currently in place and courts elsewhere have struck down similar efforts when they have been tried,” Harris said.
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Trump Statements Could Hurt Administration’s Legal Defense of Travel Ban

Negative statements made by President Donald Trump today against the revised travel ban could hurt the Justice Department’s legal case to defend it in court, The Washington Post reports. Trump derided the current iteration of the ban as “watered down” and said the DOJ should seek a “much tougher version,” despite the fact that the previous, tougher version was struck down in the courts. The president also confirmed that while “the lawyers and the courts can call it whatever they want,” the executive orders he issued temporarily blocking travel from Muslim-majority countries is indeed a “travel ban.”
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