Training Offered for Immigration Clinic Volunteers

Tennessee Justice for our Neighbors (JFON), in cooperation with Tennessee Alliance for Legal Services, will offer training for volunteers who would like to help young immigrants apply for relief under the so-called “deferred action” program implemented by the Obama Administration. The program offers two years of protection for undocumented immigrants who were brought to the United States as children, and who meet specific requirements. Training will be held Aug. 22 and 23. At the urging of its Immigration Law Section, the TBA is hosting the Aug. 23 session and will videotape the program for JFON to use in future training. For more information about the training or subsequent clinics contact Adrienne Kittos at or (615) 788-0774. Download a brochure

read more »

Pennsylvania Judge Gives Boost to Voter ID Law

A Pennsylvania judge today rejected a preliminary injunction request over a state voter-identification law, saying opponents would likely fail to show that the measure violates the state constitution. His ruling sets the stage for an expected appeal to the state Supreme Court, according to the Wall Street Journal. The law in question requires Pennsylvania voters to present a state-approved photo ID, such as a driver's license, at the polls on Nov. 6. Opponents of the law say it would disproportionately impact poor urban voters. Supporters say it is necessary to combat voter fraud.

read more »

ABA House Tackles Range of Issues

The ABA House of Delegates considered a range of issues during its meeting yesterday and today in Chicago. Topping the agenda was changes to model ethics rules recommended by the Commission on Ethics 20/20. Among those proposals were changes to help younger lawyers facing a tough job market, rules for online client communications and rules for dealing with electronic files and metadata. The commission did not take a position on nonlawyer ownership of law firms, and delegates voted to postpone that issue indefinitely. Other action items included approving stricter standards on law school marketing, opposing laws that prevent physicians from talking to patients about gun ownership and safety, calling for a ban on religious profiling, calling on lawmakers to extend the statute of limitation for child sexual abuse crimes, calling for criminal defense lawyers to help clients with civil and nonlegal problems, adoption of rules governing conflicts checks when law firms merge or lawyers move to new employment, and adoption of new civil immigration detention standards.

read more »

ACLU Launches Immigrants Rights Campaign

In response to the Supreme Court’s recent decision on Arizona’s “show me your papers” law, the ACLU of Tennessee has launched an initiative designed to help immigrants understand their rights in the justice system. The centerpiece of the effort is an online “Immigrant Rights Resource Center,” with bilingual information on how to prepare for interactions with law enforcement. ACLU-TN is publicizing the center with the distribution of posters in Spanish and English to social service agencies, businesses and churches across the state. Read more from the group

read more »

Immigration Law Opponents File New Offensive

Opponents of Arizona's controversial immigration law launched a new effort Tuesday to thwart the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling upholding the so-called “show me your papers" provision. A suit filed in federal district court argues that the law – which requires police to check the immigration status of people they stop for other reasons – would subject minorities to systematic racial profiling and unreasonably long detentions. It asks the court to issue an order prohibiting authorities from enforcing the rule. Chattanooga’s WRCB News 3 reports

read more »

Clark: Translators for Crime Victims Important

Since July 1 all non-English-speaking crime victims are being provided state-funded translation services in Tennessee court proceedings. A federal mandate had ordered states to extend free translation services to all litigants or risk losing billions in federal aid. But Tennessee went a step further and included victims in the coverage. "It is important that not only those charged with a crime, but also crime victims, divorcing parents and all those who find themselves before the courts are able to communicate effectively," Tennessee Supreme Court Chief Justice Cornelia A. Clark said in a statement Monday. Read more from WBIR

read more »

Editorial: State Should Stop Trying to Pass Immigration Legislation

In an editorial, the Commercial Appeal says the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling this week in the Arizona immigration law case "should send a message to Tennessee's legislators that they should stop trying to pass similar legislation."

read more »

Immigration Enforcement Ruling Will Have Little Impact in Tennessee

Arizona's police chiefs and county sheriffs hoped a U.S. Supreme Court ruling would settle their long-running debate on what role, if any, they should play in immigration enforcement. Instead, the justices' decision to uphold the state's "show me your papers" statute has left them with more questions than answers, the Associated Press reports.  In Tennessee, there will not be much impact from the changes, since the state's law is much more limited. The change would have immediate impact on five states that enacted similar legislation: Alabama, Georgia, Indiana, South Carolina and Utah. Although Tennessee lawmakers debated a similar comprehensive bill, it never won final approval. Tennessee has no "show me your papers" provision that allows law enforcement officers to stop and demand documentation of anyone. The Commercial Appeal has more

read more »

Court Strikes 3 Parts of Arizona Law; Lets Police Check Stand

The U.S. Supreme Court today rejected key provisions in Arizona's tough anti-immigration law, but let stand controversial police checks of immigration status. In Arizona v. U.S., a 5-3 majority, led by Justice Anthony Kennedy, held that three of four provisions in the law challenged by the Obama Administration were preempted by federal immigration law. Kennedy said the three provisions were preempted because they either conflicted with federal law or because Congress has "occupied the field" with federal regulation, and "even complementary state regulation" is impermissible.

But the majority held that Section 2(B) was not preempted -- at least not until there has been experience with its application. Under that section, state officers are to make a "reasonable attempt" to determine the immigration status of any person they stop, detain or arrest on some other legitimate basis if reasonable suspicion exists that the person is unlawfully in the country. Anyone who is arrested also must have his or her immigration status determined before being released. In light of this decision, the American Bar Association called on authorities "to avoid unnecessary, prolonged detention of individuals who are lawfully present in the United States." The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association also weighed in with its reaction, saying it is concerned that "communities of color throughout our nation will be negatively targeted as a result, and that community policing efforts on the part of law enforcement will also suffer."

Read more about the decision in the Blog of Legal Times

read more »

Linda Rose Wins Immigration Award

The American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) awarded Nashville lawyer Linda Rose with the 2012 Susan D. Quarles AILA Service Excellence Award yesterday during AILA's Annual Conference in Nashville. The award is in recognition of her outstanding service, over a period of years, in advancing the mission, development and value of AILA for its members and the public it serves. The association says Roses's service is "second to none," practicing immigration law for 25 years, 14 of them on the AILA board. Rose is the managing member of Rose Immigration Law Firm PLC and an adjunct professor of immigration law at Vanderbilt University Law School. She is also the leader of the jazz ensemble, Rose On Vibes Quintet, which you can hear tonight at Susie Wong's House of Yum in Nashville.

read more »

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.

read more »

U.S. Won’t Deport Undocumented Child Immigrants

Major changes in the way the United States enforces immigration law were announced today by Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano. Undocumented 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 cannot 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." connects you to more coverage

read more »

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.

read more »

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

read more »

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.

read more »

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

read more »

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

read more »

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. has this AP story

read more »

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

read more »

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

read more »

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. 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

read more »

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

read more »

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

read more »

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 or listen to this story by NPR reporter Nina Totenberg.

read more »

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

read more »