immigrants

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.

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 […]

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 […]

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Immigrant communities suffer as funeral traditions upended in pandemic

BY: - October 22, 2020

For many members of the immigrant community, sending the body of a loved one back to their native land is an important part of life in the U.S., but the pandemic has complicated an already complex procedure. COVID-19 has been affecting mortuary shipping services, and most international flights to and from the U.S. have been […]

Fabian Bedne with Nashville Mayor John Cooper's office provides a Spanish language update on the city's COVID-19 response Aug. 18. (Photo: Nashville.gov)

Nashville to offer hotel vouchers to immigrant families with COVID-19 cases

BY: - August 21, 2020

Clarification: Metro is still working on the details of distributing hotel vouchers and will base distributing on the need to provide someone a place to isolate, according to Metro Health Department spokesperson Brian Todd. A previous version of this story said the vouchers were currently being distributed. Hispanics continue to make up more than 19% […]

Bedne urges Hispanic residents, immigrants to continue COVID-19 tests

BY: - August 13, 2020

In spite of efforts to reach Davidson County’s Hispanic residents, who make up 19.3% of the county’s current 2,776 COVID-19 cases, testing has decreased this week, said Fabian Bedne in his two weekly Spanish language press conferences.  Bedne, a former Metro Councilmember who serves as planner in Mayor John Cooper’s office, provides the conferences as […]

A heat map of COVID-19 cases by Nashville zip code. (Courtesy of Metro Nashville Department of Health.)

COVID-19 spike in heavily immigrant communities tied to fear of ‘Public Charge’

BY: - May 7, 2020

A “heat map” released by Metro Nashville officials shows concentrations of COVID-19 cases in two Davidson County zip codes — 37211 and 37013 — that are home to many of the area’s immigrants.  Some local advocates for the immigrant community say fear of the federal policy known as “Public Charge” is one reason for the […]