Immigration

East Tennessee Meatpacking Plant Owner Admits Tax Evasion

The owner of the East Tennessee Southeastern Provision meatpacking plant, James Brantley, agreed to plead guilty to federal charges of tax evasion, wire fraud and employing unauthorized immigrants, the Knoxville News Sentinel reports. In April, I.C.E. agents and I.R.S. investigators conducted the nation’s largest single immigration crackdown in more than 10 years at the plant; they rounded up 97 people on illegal entry charges. This action sparked statewide protests and unsuccessful attempts to toughen punishments for employers who knowingly hire undocumented workers. Brantley’s hiring of undocumented workers allowed him to pocket millions of dollars by ignoring safety regulations, violating federal wage and hour laws and avoiding unemployment and workers’ comp premiums. He will enter a formal plea in court on Sept. 12.

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9th Circuit: Immigration Courts Must Consider Ability to Pay in Setting Bond

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld an injunction requiring immigration judges to consider financial ability to pay when setting bond, the ABA Journal reports. “No person may be imprisoned merely on the account of his poverty,” wrote Judge Stephen Reinhardt for the panel. The American Bar Association previously filed an amicus brief in the case that said immigration courts should be required to consider ability to pay and flight risk before deciding on bond.
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Bill Allows Judges to Consider Immigration Status in Felony Sentencing

A bill passed by the state legislature but awaiting the governor’s approval would require Tennessee judges to consider immigration status as a felony enhancement factor, the Tennessean reports. Judges would be allowed to use their discretion in whether they would apply the enhancement. If Gov. Bill Haslam signs the bill into law, a court battle could ensue, as courts have struck down similar measures in other states. 
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U.S. Supreme Court Hears Case of Tennessee Immigrant

The case of a Memphis restauranteur who faces deportation after pleading guilty to a drug charge was heard before the U.S. Supreme Court last week, the Washington Post reports. Jae Lee’s lawyer told him there was no way he’d be deported if he took a plea deal, but he was wrong. The court will decide whether Lee should be given a second chance in court due to bad lawyering. Lee is a legal resident who has lived most of his life in the United States. "This case answers what kind of prejudice you have to show in order to get relief from the mistakes made by your trial lawyer," said one of Lee's lawyers, Patrick McNally of Nashville.
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Supreme Court Will Review Obama Immigration Actions

The U.S. Supreme Court will review President Obama’s executive immigration actions from 2014, CBS News reports. Tennessee and 25 other states challenged the legality of the actions that were aimed to block millions of undocumented immigrants from deportation. The Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in November 2015 in favor of the states; the Obama administration appealed the decision. The case will be argued in April and decided by late June.

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