Immigration

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Lawyer charges human trafficking played part in 16-year-old’s death on construction site

BY: - July 19, 2021

A Nashville judge ruled that evidence of human trafficking would be allowed in the case of a 16-year-old who died in a construction-related accident in downtown Nashville last year.  Gustavo Ramirez had been working on a scaffold without a harness during construction of La Quinta Inn on Interstate Drive when he fell 120 feet to […]

Gov. Bill Lee addressing members of the Tennessee National Guard. (Photo: tn.gov)

After National Guard trip, governor says nation needs new Southern border strategy

BY: - July 12, 2021

Shrugging off the notion that the Southern border “crisis” is a political attack, Gov. Bill Lee says the nation should develop a new strategy to stop a surge in illegal crossings and activity from Mexico. After a two-day trip to review 300 Tennessee National Guard soldiers serving on a year-long mission for border patrol support, […]

(Photo: John Partipilo)

Refugee arrivals in Tennessee drop to historic low in 2020

BY: - July 8, 2021

As a former child soldier, Gatluak Thach was granted refugee status and moved to Nashville in 1996 to start a new life. Efforts to teach his wife and the nearby community English eventually led to Thach founding the Nashville Center for Empowerment, but over the last few years, Thach noticed a significant decrease in the number […]

Tennessee State Capitol (Photograph: John Partipilo)

Amid investigation, Hakeem raises questions about state suspension of Baptiste Group license

BY: - July 7, 2021

Allegations of sexual abuse at a Baptiste Group home for migrant children gave the state an excuse to suspend the facility’s license as political pressure mounted, a Chattanooga Democrat says. “That’s my perspective,” state Rep. Yusuf Hakeem said Tuesday. “And what concerns me is that supposedly the state would have been doing on-site reviews every […]

(Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Metro Schools, MNEA launch community schools project with immigrant organizations

BY: - June 29, 2021

In Metro Nashville Public Schools, students speak more than 100 different languages and the majority of immigrants are arriving from non-English speaking countries, but many students don’t currently feel represented in their curriculum.  Members of the Metro Nashville Education Association (MNEA) and representatives of immigrant organizations have found over the last year that children of […]

The Mutabazi family outside their Nashville home. (Photo: John Partipilo)

Settled into new homes, refugees in US say they are working for a better life for all

BY: - June 20, 2021

Violence, persecution and wars amid a global pandemic added to the growing number of displaced persons around the world last year. The United Nations reports that 11.2 million people were displaced from their homelands in 2020, bringing the total number of displaced persons in the world to 82.4 million.  Of those forced to flee their […]

State Sen. Todd Gardenhire, R-Chattanooga, center, has expressed suspicion about the suspension of the Baptiste Group. (Photo: John Partipilo)

Gardenhire wants facts to drive solution on unaccompanied children

BY: - June 8, 2021

Taking a different view from firebrand conservatives, state Sen. Todd Gardenhire hopes a Study Committee of Refugee Issues will remove the “rhetoric” and use facts to decide how to handle unaccompanied children coming to Tennessee as part of a migrant wave at the Mexican border. Gardenhire, a Chattanooga Republican, penned an op-ed published Saturday in […]

A little girl holds her mother's hand at a 2017 demonstration for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) in Nashville. (Photo: John Partipilo)

Rep. Hakeem terms committee on refugee issues ‘extreme partisan effort’

BY: - June 2, 2021

A partisan committee formed by the House and Senate speakers will evaluate the impact of migrant children the federal government is bringing to Tennessee, even though figures show no significant increase since President Joe Biden took office. The Study Committee on Refugee Issues, which is spurred by reports about unaccompanied minors being brought to the […]

COMMENTARY
Gov. Bill Lee at a plant dedication Humboldt, Tennessee in March, pictured with plant workers. (Photo: John Partipilo)

Editor’s column: Lee is either ignorant or dishonest in migrant children situation

BY: - May 28, 2021

In this week’s manufactured crisis, I give you the situation of unaccompanied migrant children being transported to shelter in Chattanooga.  To hear Tennessee’s Republican leaders, the kids were snuck into our fair state in the dead of night, with no consultation with local leaders and against explicit warnings to the Biden administration that we don’t […]

Marsha Blackburn waves her finger.

Immigrant rights, faith groups criticize Blackburn and Hagerty stance on immigrant children

BY: - May 21, 2021

Immigrant-rights advocates and faith-based coalitions criticized statements by U.S. Senators Marsha Blackburn and Bill Hagerty about housing immigrant children in Tennessee. Reports by WRCB on Wednesday showed migrant children arriving in Hamilton County through Chattanooga’s Wilson Air Center and then boarding buses later verified to be under contract with the U.S. Department of Defense.  Later […]

Saddler Funeral Home in Lebanon, where Reid Van Ness stored bodies for months at a time. (Photo: John Partipilo)

Funeral board warns consulates against unlicensed Tennessee funeral director as more bodies go missing

BY: and - May 13, 2021

Tennessee officials this week cautioned the Mexican and Guatemalan consulates in Atlanta against doing business with an ex-funeral director and embalmer who lost his licenses more than a year ago for failing to send bodies of deceased immigrants overseas for burial.

A 2018 photo from a TIRRC demonstration. (Photo: Jon Dragonette/TIRRC Facebook)

Tennessee immigrant groups, union organizers push back on preemptive laws

BY: - April 30, 2021

Immigrant rights advocates and community organizers are urging legislators to restore critical decision making to local governments, adding that if COVID-19 has proven anything, it’s that local officials know what’s best for their residents.  Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition (TIRRC) and Stand Up Nashville (SUN), a coalition of community leaders and union organizers, joined […]