News

Judge Blocks Trump Plans to Add Citizenship Question to 2020 Census

A federal judge in New York has ruled against the Trump administration's decision to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census, NPR reports. U.S. District Judge Jesse Furman ordered the administration to stop its plans to include the controversial question on forms for the upcoming national head count "without curing the legal defects" the judge identified in his opinion. The district court ruling in New York is expected to be appealed to the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and, ultimately, to the Supreme Court.
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Murfreesboro Mother Banned from Entering U.S.

A Murfreesboro woman who married a U.S. citizen has been banned from ever returning to the U.S., The Daily New Journal reports. Alma Goddard first came to the United States as an illegal immigrant, but married citizen Shane Goddard, started a family, and attempted to gain legal citizenship. After exhausting other resources, Alma Goddard returned to Mexico to attempt to re-enter the country through proper channels. However, as she prepared to depart Juarez to return to Tennessee, she was accused of telling an immigration officer that she was a U.S. citizen, an offense that results in an automatic ban. The Goddards claim that Alma Goddard did no such thing, and now are seeking other means of returning her to the U.S.
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Shelby Sheriff Will Not Follow New State Immigration Enforcement Law

A new Tennessee immigration law aimed at curbing "sanctuary cities" is already facing a challenge from Shelby County officials, who say the new measure is “unenforceable and unconstitutional” because of its “vagueness” and would not be applied locally, The Daily Memphian reports. The Shelby County Sheriff’s Office issued a statement on Jan. 2 that it would not follow the new measure, which calls for local law enforcement throughout the state to comply with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement detainer requests to hold immigrants in the country illegally for deportation. Last year, the sheriff’s office said it stopped holding immigrants past their release dates after the county attorney said the federal immigration detainer requests from ICE would violate the U.S. Constitution. 
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SCOTUS to Consider Hot-Button Issues in 2019

The U.S. Supreme Court’s 2018-2019 term has had a quiet start with only three decisions issued; all unanimous. However, the court is likely to hear a number of high-profile cases that will be more divisive. Issues before the court may include separation of church and state, citizenship questions related to the 2020 Census, power of executive agencies, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, the military ban against transgender individuals and partisan gerrymandering. The Hill and the Economist have more on the cases and possible outcomes.

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New 'Sanctuary' Law Could Affect Policies at Shelby Jail

When a new Tennessee immigration law goes into effect Jan. 1, it could lead to changes at the Shelby County jail, the Commercial Appeal reports. The new law makes it possible to punish cities that adopt “sanctuary policies” regarding immigrants. In Shelby County, the Sheriff’s office has stopped obeying federal immigration detainer requests last year after the county attorney said that doing so would likely violate the U.S. Constitution.

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Bloomberg Exposes “Ghost” Worker Loophole for Major Companies

A Bloomberg News investigation recently exposed a loophole that allows big-name companies, like Target and Walmart, to utilize cheap, undocumented labor through contractors. One such contractor that has been partnered with Target since 2003, Diversified Maintenance Systems LLC, has faced allegations of labor violations in the past, including putting undocumented immigrants to work by utilizing pay cards under assumed names in order to hide the illegal status of the employee. The article profiles Martha Lopez, an illegal immigrant working at a Target in Brentwood, Tenn. who experienced a loss of an entire month’s worth of wages due to the pay card practice. When she confronted her employer regarding the missing pay, she was told no one would listen to her because she did not exist on their system due to her working under an assumed name, like a ghost. Since these contracted employees do not work directly for the large companies, the company is able to benefit from this source of illegal, cheap labor without fear of penalty. Bloomberg inquired with Target regarding Lopez’s case and the labor practices of Diversified; within a couple days Target decided to cancel its contract with the company in the state of Tennessee.

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Law Tech Blast: Feb. 15, 2019

Discover the newest technology for your law practice and law office at this year's Law Tech Blast on Feb. 15! This is a free program available to all practicing lawyers. The flexible open house format allows you to create your own schedule. You can attend CLE sessions, enter to win prizes, network with attendees, visit with sponsors and interact with speakers. Take as many or as few CLE hours as you need. Only those seeking to be awarded CLE Credit will be charged. The registration desk will be open all day, so you can come and go for the hours you need when it is convenient for you. Attendees can earn up to 6.5 hours of Dual CLE credit.

FREE SIGN UP: Sign up now so we know you are coming.

  • You will only pay for the hours you wish to be awarded CLE credit.
  • Programming will be available throughout the day with dual credit hours available.
  • The registration desk will also be open all day.
CLE TOPICS:
  • GDPR, Cloud and Technological Competency
  • The Bill and Phil Tech Show
  • Best Practices: Information Security for Firms
  • Judicial Panel: Technology in the Courtroom
  • Preparing for eDiscovery Before Litigation 

ATTEND TO WIN: Attendees will have a chance to win prizes, including a hot, new tech product. The tech prize drawing will be held at the 10:30 a.m. break. Must be present to win.

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Give the Gift of TBA Membership

Give yourself (or a friend) the gift that keeps giving — one-year of unlimited access to professional development opportunities and a number of programs and services designed to help you become a better practitioner. Founded in 1881, the Tennessee Bar Association is dedicated to enhancing fellowship among members of the state's legal community. Oh, and did we mention some of the benefits? Earn three pre-paid credits to use on any live or online course featured in the 12-days of CLE. Join now!

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State, Federal Judges Call on ICE to End Courthouse Arrests

Dozens of retired state and federal judges this week called on U.S. immigration officials to stop making courthouse arrests of people suspected of being in the country illegally, The Associated Press reports. Nearly 70 former judges from 23 states — including federal judges and state Supreme Court justices — said in a letter sent to Acting U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Director Ronald Vitiello that courthouse arrests are disrupting the criminal justice system. The judges are urging Vitiello to add courthouses to the list of so-called “sensitive locations” that are generally free from immigration enforcement, like schools and places of worship.

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Immigration Group Updates Standards for Detention of Immigrant Children

The ABA’s Commission on Immigration on Friday released updated standards for the detention, care and legal representation of unaccompanied immigrant minors, The ABA Journal reports. The standards, which are meant to offer guidance to federal agencies and contractors that handle immigrants, reflect more than two years of collaboration between the commission and outside advocates. The first set of such standards were published in 2004, and since then the number of migrant children has increased substantially. The custody standards include guidance that there should be a legal presumption against detention and in favor of family reunification, both of which are assumed to be in the best interests of the child. Legal proceedings on the child’s immigration status should be prompt, fair and ideally on a special docket for unaccompanied minors.
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U.S.-Born Citizen Held for Deportation at ICE’s Request

A new lawsuit filed this week in federal court details the case of a Philadelphia-born U.S. citizen who was detained for weeks in Florida at the request of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, The Washington Post reports. The ACLU filed the suit on behalf of Peter Sean Brown, who was told he would be deported to Jamaica, a country that the lawsuit states “he has never lived and knows no one.” Brown was detained in Monroe County, which this year entered a new arrangement with ICE under a “Basic Ordering Agreement.” His ICE detainer form said he was to be deported because of “biometric information.” 
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Private Prisons Using Detainee Labor Face Lawsuits

A recent class-action lawsuit has been filed in federal court against a CoreCivic correctional center located in New Mexico, The Guardian reports. Detainees earned 50 cents or less per hour for various tasks, including cooking and working in the center’s library. CoreCivic and Geo Group are two of the country’s biggest private prison companies, citing combined revenues of $4 billion in 2017. Lawsuits against both companies regarding the practice of using detainee labor have been filed in several states over the past four years; however, they are still working through the courts. Spokespeople for both companies have stated that its work programs are completely voluntary and comply with government-established standards. 

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December CLE in 6 Cities

TBA offers CLE in six locations during December. See offerings in Chattanooga, Knoxville, Memphis, Nashville, Johnson City and Jackson. Find last-minute by the hour through Dec. 31 or take any of the TBA's online CLE packages.
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Federal Judge Blocks Trump Order Refusing Asylum for Immigrants

A federal judge today barred the Trump administration from refusing asylum to immigrants who cross the southern border illegally, Fox News reports. Trump issued a proclamation on Nov. 9 that said anyone who crossed the southern border would be ineligible for asylum. U.S. District Judge Jon S. Tigar issued a temporary restraining order after a request was made by the American Civil Liberties Union and the Center for Constitutional Rights.
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Mark Your Calendars!

9th Circuit Maintains Injunction on End to DACA Program

A 9th Circuit Court of Appeals panel on Thursday unanimously kept a preliminary injunction in place against President Donald Trump's decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, WATE.com reports. Earlier this week, the Trump administration took the unusual step of asking the Supreme Court to take up the case even before any federal appeals courts had weighed in. It was the second time the administration sought review of its DACA decision by the Supreme Court.

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New Administration Asylum Measures Draw Lawsuit

The Trump administration introduced new measures Thursday to deny asylum to migrants who enter the country illegally, invoking national security powers to curb long-standing humanitarian protections for foreigners arriving on American soil, the Washington Post reports. The measures have already drawn a legal challenge from the American Civil Liberties Union, which argues in a lawsuit filed Friday that the policy violates federal immigration law.

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ABA President Opposes Proposed Rule to Reduce Rights for Immigrant Minors

ABA President Bob Carlson sent a letter to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement on Tuesday, opposing the agency’s proposal to unilaterally change a 1997 legal settlement laying out rights for minors in the immigration system, The ABA Journal reports. The settlement restricts the amount of time minors can be held in detention and sets standards for their care while in government custody. “The proposed regulations would essentially authorize the indefinite detention of children and codify the practice of family separation,” Carlson wrote.
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Immigration Basics Webcast Set for Next Week

Join your colleagues at noon on Nov. 16 for an Immigration Best Practices Webcast. Attorneys experience constant changes and challenges in the field of immigration law. With the busy day-to-day, it's imperative to have a foundation in best practices such as documentation and compliance. Join expert Terry Olsen, Esq. for a one-hour webcast detailing this foundation, practical tips and much more related to the practice of immigration law.

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SCOTUS Allows Trial in Challenge to Census Citizenship Question

The U.S. Supreme Court has refused to block a trial in a challenge to the U.S. Commerce Department’s decision to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census, USA Today reports. Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito and Neil Gorsuch dissented, while it’s unclear how the other justices voted. Federal district and appeals court judges had approved the depositions and green-lighted the trial, which was set to start soon.
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Rights Group: Migrant Caravan Crackdown Violates International Law

Rights groups are warning that responses to Central American migrants, refugees going to U.S., may violate international law. Al Jazeera reports the governments of Honduras, Guatemala and Mexico in recent weeks have fortified parts of their borders, deployed police and military forces and held or returned migrants and refugees. Some of these measures violate international law or risk doing so, according to human rights groups and international agencies. These groups claim that these and other actions violate the Refugee Act of 1980.

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JFON Seeking New Legal Director

Tennessee Justice for Our Neighbors (JFON) is seeking a new legal director. The Legal Director will be responsible for the direct representation of vulnerable immigrant clients seeking humanitarian immigration legal services, the supervision and training of volunteers who will assist in pro bono representation ensuring the continued success of the humanitarian immigration legal services program. The position is based out of Nashville and requires fluency in English and Spanish. Read more about the position here.

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Basic Tech Checklist for Firms

Law firms attempting to stay competitive and state-of-the-art need to consistently evaluate their use of technology. In addition to staying competitive, technological competency is required. In 2017, the Tennessee Supreme Court amended Rule 8 of the Rules of Professional Responsibility to include this obligation. Above the Law presents a simple and straightforward tech checklist for law firms or lawyers seeking guidance in this area.   

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Nashville Immigration Lawyer Dies

Elliott Ozment, one of Nashville's leading immigration attorneys, died at age 71. Ozment, founder and managing attorney of Ozment Law and a former Democratic state lawmaker, died after complications following a stroke. A 1975 graduate of Vanderbilt University School of Law, he became known for representing underdog causes in the city, including representing a woman shackled during child birth as she faced deportation, challenging the city’s involvement in the 287(g) federal deportation program and working to defeat a referendum that would have made English the official language of Metro government. He was also active in the TBA and its Immigration Section. Funeral arrangements will be posted when available.

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'Tapas for Justice' Planned for Oct. 25 in Nashville

On Oct. 25, Justice for Our Neighbors (JFON) will host its annual "Tapas for Justice" fundraiser, supporting JFON's efforts to help asylum-seekers, young DACA recipients, and families that have been separated from one another. The event will be held in Nashville at Bass Berry & Sims from 5:30 to 7 p.m., and will feature an art display of Amber Vongsamphanh's photography series "America the Beautiful." Tickets are $50 to attend and $100 to co-host.
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