News

Immigration Lawyers Busy After President's Order

Immigration lawyers are seeing an increase in calls from people wanting to know how to apply for deferred action through the Department of Homeland Security. Nashville attorney Elliott Ozment, for example, said he had so many people making appointments that by Monday his calendar for the week was full. But he said some are being cautious about applying for the program, saying they would prefer to wait until after the November election to see if the program will survive. Nashville News 2 looks at the issue.

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U.S. Won’t Deport Illegal Child Immigrants

Major changes in the way the United States enforces immigration law were announced today by Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano. Illegal immigrants now under 30 who were brought to this country before age 16 won't be deported and could be granted renewable two-year work permits if they meet certain criteria, although they won't be granted citizenship. Among the requirements are five years of continuous residency and the individual can't have a criminal record or pose a national security threat. He or she must also be a high school graduate or have earned a general equivalency diploma or be a military veteran. In a statement, American Bar Association President William T (Bill) Robinson III applauded the announcement, saying it "is consistent with American ideals of fairness and opportunity."  ABAJournal.com connects you to more coverage

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Arguments in 287(g) Case Spark Demonstration at Courthouse

More than 100 people marched to the Tennessee Supreme Court building in Nashville on Thursday to demonstrate their outrage against Metro’s participation in the 287(g) program, the federal immigration enforcement program that allows law enforcement to determine the immigration status of jail inmates and turn them over for federal deportation proceedings. The march occurred just hours before the Tennessee Supreme Court heard oral arguments in a case challenging the Davidson County Sheriff’s Office’s authority to participate in the federal program. Fox 17 has video of the march and the arguments.

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Court Hears Challenge to 287(g) Program

Tennessee Supreme Court justices heard oral arguments today on a controversial immigration program that allows local law enforcement to question a person's immigration status. The so-called 287(g) program is a partnership between local departments and federal authorities. Three civil rights groups want the court to block Davidson County's participation in the program. A local lawyer argues the sheriff's office can't enter into such an agreement, because the agency gave up law enforcement powers in 1963. News Channel 5 has the latest

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Free Immigration Clinic Happens Saturday

A free legal clinic for Nashville area residents who need advice on immigration issues will be held Saturday from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at Hillcrest United Methodist Church, 5112 Raywood Lane, The Tennessean reports. The American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA), Justice for Our Neighbors of Tennessee (JFON) and the MidSouth Chapter of AILA will host the event. Volunteer attorneys will be available for one-on-one meetings, to answer questions, make assessments and give recommendations. Languages spoken will include Chinese, Finnish, French, Hindi, Polish, Spanish, Telegu Urdu, and others. Cases will be handled on a first-come, first-served basis.

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Immigration Law Protestors Go to Alabama Capitol

Hundreds of people gathered Sunday at the Alabama state Capitol to protest the recent passage and signing of a bill that makes some changes to Alabama's tough law targeting illegal immigration. WKRN carried the AP story

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Comments on Interpreters, Translators Due June 15

The Tennessee Supreme Court is now accepting comments regarding the Administrative Office of the Courts' proposal that expands and updates the provisions of Supreme Court Rule 42. Rule 42 governs the appointment and compensation of court interpreters and translators in this state. Read the proposed amendments and submit a comment by June 15 at the Administrative Office of the Court web site

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Interpretation and Translation Different in Eyes of Court

The U.S. Supreme Court says interpretation and translation are not the same thing when it comes to paying fees associated with federal civil lawsuits. The high court ruled today that Kan Pacific Saipan Ltd. did not deserve compensation for interpreters for fighting off a lawsuit from a Japanese professional baseball player. The company argued that translating written documents was the same as "compensation of interpreters," which can be charged to losing parties, but the court disagreed. TriCities.com has this AP story

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DOJ Sues 'Toughest Sheriff' Over Immigration Patrols

Federal authorities have sued America’s self-proclaimed toughest sheriff, Joe Arpaio, a rare step after months of negotiations failed to yield an agreement to settle allegations that his department racially profiled Latinos in his trademark immigration patrols. The U.S. Department of Justice contends that the Maricopa County, Ariz., sheriff's office engages in a "pattern or practice" of unlawful discriminatory conduct both in county jails and patrol operations and seeks new policies and training to correct the situation. The ABA Journal has the story

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House Passes Rep. Black's Plan to Block Immigration Law Challenges

The U.S. House of Representatives passed an amendment offered by Rep. Diane Black, R-Tenn., yesterday that would prevent the Obama administration from using funding in the FY 2013 budget to challenge state immigration laws in court. Opponents of the amendment said it violates separation of powers because it dictates which positions the executive branch is allowed to argue in court. Two weeks ago, Arizona’s controversial immigration law made its way to the U.S. Supreme Court. The Justice Department said that law conflicts with federal immigration policy. Five other states have passed similar laws, and the Justice Department has filed suit against three of them: Alabama, South Carolina and Utah. The Tennessean has more

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Legislature Wraps Up 107th Session

The 107th Tennessee General Assembly adjourned Tuesday – the earliest adjournment since 1998 – after a flurry of action in the final days. Legislation approved and sent to the governor included:

HB 2385/SB 2247, which overhauls the Tennessee Regulatory Authority. Read more from the Knoxville News Sentinel

SB 3597/HB 3576, which prohibits state colleges and private colleges receiving more than $24 million in state funds from imposing antidiscrimination policies on religious student groups. The bill, designed to address a situation at Vanderbilt University, was vetoed by Gov. Bill Haslam today. WATE.com has more

HB 2868/SB 3005, which expands state racketeering laws to include criminal gangs, and imposes additional jail time and fines of up to $250,000 for gang members. The Times Free Press reports

SB 1325/HB 1379, which requires proof of citizenship to get state services. Learn more in the Memphis Daily News

SB 2580/HB 2725, which requires drug testing for some welfare recipients. The Tennessean reports

HB 3234/SB 2908, which authorizes referendums on whether Shelby County’s suburbs may form municipal school districts. The Memphis Daily News has more

The legislature did not act on a contentious gun issue that would have allowed employees to store weapons in vehicles parked on company lots and failed to pass a measure that would have allowed Tennessee to join an interstate compact challenging the federal health care law

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Courts Recognized for Language Access Programs

The Tennessee Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC) recently received several awards from the Consortium for Language Access in the Courts for its efforts to eliminate language barriers for persons with limited English proficiency. Among the initiatives recognized were those providing remote interpreting services through Internet video conferencing, interpreter services in criminal cases for non-indigent defendants, and translation of order of protection forms into five languages. The AOC also was recognized for its successful legislative efforts to secure an additional $2 million in funding to cover interpreter services in all cases. The AOC reports

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Court to Consider Retroactivity of Padilla Decision

The Supreme Court agreed today to consider the retroactivity of its 2010 decision finding that lawyers have a Sixth Amendment obligation to warn their clients when guilty pleas can result in deportation. At issue is whether the ruling in Padilla v. Kentucky applies to defendants whose convictions became final before the date of the opinion. According to the cert petition, “federal and state courts are openly and intractably divided” over whether the Padilla holding applies retroactively. Read more in the ABA Journal

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High Court Hears Arguments on Arizona Immigration Law

The early analyses of this morning's Supreme Court hearing on parts of Arizona's controversial immigration law are in, and the consensus is that the majority of justices will likely uphold the state's effort to reduce the number of people within its borders who may be there illegally, reports National Public Radio. For an in-depth analysis of the hearing read the account at SCOTUSblog.com or listen to this story by NPR reporter Nina Totenberg.

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Arizona Immigration: Senator Says He'll Undo Law if Court Doesn't

The Supreme Court will hear oral arguments Wednesday on Arizona’s immigration enforcement law, which gives police broad authority to detain individuals suspected of being in the country illegally. If the U.S. Supreme Court upholds an Arizona immigration law after hearings this week, Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and other legislators say they will file legislation to undo it. Schumer said the Arizona law also makes it a federal crime for any individual to fail at any time to possess documents verifying their immigration status. The Blog of Legal Times has more

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CLC Celebrates 20 Years

Memphis's Community Legal Center celebrates a birthday this year -- 20 years of providing legal services to the poor. “We’re a small organization -- an independent legal service,” Executive Director Meg Jones says. The center has three part-time staff attorneys, one with a general focus, one who does family law and one who is an immigration attorney. There are also about 200 attorneys who help by taking cases on a pro bono basis. And the center has a translator, in addition to several volunteers. Read this profile in the Daily News Journal

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Chattanooga Lawyer Sees Disability in Positive Way

Chattanooga lawyer Terrence Olsen talks to the Hamilton County Herald about his practice and how a lifelong disability has helped shape his work helping immigrants, as well as his drive to provide pro bono. “Since I had a stutter," he says, "I couldn’t actually express what I wanted to, and if you have a language that’s a second language, you have the same issue,” he says."I wanted to give individuals a voice."

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Alabama's Immigration Law Could Change

The sponsor of Alabama's controversial immigration law has introduced legislation to remove two sections put on hold by the federal courts: one that prohibits illegal immigrants from attending college in the state and one that requires public schools to check the legal residency of new students. WDEF has more

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Metro Accuses Judge of Unfair Treatment in Immigration Case

In a brief filed in the Juana Villegas case Friday, Metro Nashville attorneys say that U.S. District Court Judge William Haynes has a “history of an adversarial relationship” with them and that Haynes exhibited “unfair treatment” and an “increasingly threatening tone” to Metro lawyers before reaching his verdict nearly one year ago. The brief kicks off Metro’s appeal in the polarizing case that pitted the Davidson County Sheriff’s Office against immigrant advocates. Villegas is the undocumented and pregnant Mexican woman detained by the sheriff’s office in 2008 as part of its implementation of the federal 287(g) program. She subsequently went into labor and was shackled to a hospital bed in the hours before and after childbirth, triggering a lawsuit against Metro that garnered national attention. The City Paper has more

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ABA to High Court: Arizona Immigration Law Illegal

The American Bar Association is urging the U.S. Supreme Court to rule that four provisions of Arizona's controversial anti-illegal immigration law, known as S.B. 1070, are unconstitutional because they are pre-empted by federal immigration law. The four provisions were enjoined by lower federal court rulings before the law went into effect. In an amicus brief filed late Monday in State of Arizona et al. v. United States of America, the ABA urges affirmance of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, stating that none of these provisions can be implemented by Arizona without inevitably conflicting with the federal system of statutes and regulations that is carried out by federal agencies and specialized courts. The ABA has more

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