Immigration

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 […]

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

TIRRC pushes Congress to create easier path to citizenship

BY: - April 21, 2021

Immigrants and new Americans made up a large portion of essential workers during the pandemic, and Tennessee immigrant advocates joined a nationwide effort urging Congress to create an easier path to citizenship. Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition (TIRRC) held a rally Tuesday night to call on representatives and senators to promote the interests of […]

The exterior of Saddler Funeral Home in Lebanon, one of two funeral homes at which Reid Van Ness was storing bodies he had promised to send to other countries. (Photo: John Partipilo)

Tennessee officials warn funeral businesses about unlicensed director

BY: - March 23, 2021

Tennessee officials have issued a warning to funeral businesses about working with an unlicensed, ex-funeral director after a series of scandals, including the negligent storage of bodies. Reid Van Ness surrendered his license as a funeral director and embalmer in March 2020 after state officials found that at least 10 bodies he was paid to […]

Protesters in front of the Senate side of the U.S. Capitol urge Congress to pass the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program in December 2017. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

U.S. House passes Dreamers bill over GOP objections, as immigration debate intensifies

BY: - March 19, 2021

WASHINGTON — The U.S. House took up two bills Thursday that would grant legal status to broad groups of immigrants living and working in the United States, including a pathway to citizenship for hundreds of thousands of undocumented people brought to the country as children. The measures mark the first step towards what advocates for […]

Lara Castillos featured

El Estado de Tennessee investigará nuevas acusaciones contra un director de funerarias que continúa explotando a la familias inmigrantes

BY: - February 25, 2021

Director de funerales y embalsamador de Tennessee entrega sus licencias a principios de 2020 después de no haber devuelto los cuerpos a México, Honduras y Guatemala para su respectivo funerales, aun así siguió ofreciendo servicios funerarios a comunidades de inmigrantes y a descuidado nuevamente, en al menos un caso reciente, la  entregar de los restos […]

Lara Castillos featured

State to investigate new allegations that Tennessee funeral director continues to exploit grieving immigrant families

BY: and - February 25, 2021

A Tennessee funeral director and embalmer who surrendered his licenses early in 2020 after he failed to return bodies to Mexico, Honduras and Guatemala for burials has continued to offer funeral services in immigrant communities — and, in at least one recent instance, neglected for months to deliver remains to a grieving family. Roommates and […]

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

A Tennessee funeral director made promises to immigrant families; he didn’t deliver

BY: and - February 11, 2021

Ramy Jadiel Ajualip Primero, the baby in his family, died unexpectedly at just 18 months old. He was rushed to the hospital after experiencing convulsions. A grim prognosis ensued. With no hope for recovery, the boy was taken off life support 15 days later.  In shock, Ramy’s parents were certain of one thing: they wanted […]

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

Director de funerarias hizo promesas a familias inmigrantes y no cumplió

BY: - February 11, 2021

Ramy Jadiel Ajualip Primero, el bebé de su familia, murió inesperadamente con solo 18 meses de edad. Fue trasladado de urgencia al hospital después de sufrir convulsiones. Se produjo un pronóstico sombrío. Sin esperanza de recuperación, el niño fue retirado del soporte vital 15 días después. En estado de shock, los padres de Ramy estaban […]

Hand holding cell phone with emergency number 911 on black background

Fear of law enforcement, communication issues hamper use of 911

BY: - February 1, 2021

For many members of Tennessee’s immigrant communities, calling 911 in an emergency situation is not a viable option, and advocates are working to remove fear of the system and make it more user-friendly. Last year’s police brutality protests and years of anti-immigration policies have strained relations between New Americans and law enforcement officials, and while […]

Protesters in front of U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexanders offices on West End in 2017. (Photo: John Partipilo)

Biden election gives hope for DACA, immigrant rights organizations

BY: - December 14, 2020

President-elect Joe Biden’s election win renewed hope for recipients of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA,) but advocates with immigrant-rights organizations say there will still be many challenges in the next few months.  During President Donald Trump’s tenure, DACA applications were closed as the administration sought to roll back the program. Although limited in its […]

A group from Elmahaba Center holding a voter registration drive in September. The center has hosted mayoral forums and urged census participation as well as sharing information about COVID-19. (Photo: Elmahaba Facebook)

Nashville immigrant groups create social media platforms for sharing COVID-19 information

BY: - December 8, 2020

Nashville has a thriving immigrant community with residents speaking more than 130 languages. But that same diversity created challenges for Metro Nashville government officials when the COVID-19 pandemic reached Tennessee in March.  Several of Nashville’s established immigrant communities either already had social media platforms or were in the process of developing outlets to be able […]