• Immigration advocates rally over law enforcement concerns in Knoxville

    Undocumented immigrants and supporters spoke out Tuesday in Knoxville about their concerns over law enforcement ties to federal programs, blocked traffic and four were taken into custody.

    Several groups spoke in front of the Knox County Sheriff's Office. They include: No Papers No Fear Riders, Knoxville United Against Racism, Allies for Knoxville Immigrant Neighbors (AKIN) Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition (TIRRC) and the Unknowns Working to be Known.

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  • One Arrested, Three Cited Protesting 287(g) in Knoxville

    Originally Published at WBIR

    A protest Tuesday led to several people being taken into custody.

    Protesters were voicing their concerns over a program called 287(g) that the Knox County's Sheriff's Office is considering for inmates here. It's a partnership with federal authorities to check an immigrant's legal status.

    Tuesday afternoon, protesters, including illegal immigrants, protested near the sheriff's office. Some are traveling across the country spreading a message they call "No papers, no fear."

    They joined East Tennesseans, including an undocumented man named Alejandro Guizar. He was one of several people detained for blocking the intersection of Gay Street and Hill Avenue.

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  • UndocuBus Riders Find Struggle and Hope in Knoxville

    Knoxville’s Church of the Savior was buzzing with energy last night. Some 70 locals prepared a potluck feast for UndocuBus riders, who have spent the last three days in eastern Tennessee. Riders include people of all ages, including students, day laborers, and domestic workers, and they’re headed to the Democratic National Convention. 

    Last night’s generosity is indicative of the support riders have experienced since the ride started in Phoenix, Arizona more than a month ago. While UndocuBus is reaching out to those people who have been most affected by draconian immigration laws, they’re also building community with white allies who are helping to feed and house the riders as they head towards Charlotte for the convention. 

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  • Fran: How long can we stand by and watch?

    My name is Fran Ansley.  I am a retired law professor and I have lived in East Tennessee for forty years.  I am here with my fellow Knoxvillian, Alex Guizar, to welcome the “No Papers No Fear” Bus Riders for Justice, and to thank them for coming to help us make Knoxville a safer, more democratic, and more welcoming community.

    For months now Alex and I have been working -- along with a broad array of other individuals and organizations -- to try to alert the people of Knox County and our sheriff, J.J. Jones, to the danger of programs like 287(g) and Secure Communities.  Programs like these entangle local police, deputies and jailers in the dirty work of enforcing a broken, unjust and hypocritical immigration system.  They invite and encourage racial profiling, they undermine the ability of local police to carry out what is supposed to be their primary mission, they tear families apart, and they create a reign of fear for many Latino immigrants and their loved ones.

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  • Undocumented Immigrants Urge Knox County Sheriff ‘JJ’ Jones To Stop Seeking Direct Collaboration with Immigration Authorities, Welcome ‘No Papers No Fear’ Riders

    Undocumented immigrants and supporters from Knoxville will be speaking out publicly about their experience with programs that seek collaboration between local law enforcement and immigration authorities, which lead to separation of families, distrust between police and immigrant communities, and are marred by practices of racial profiling. The riders of the No Papers No Fear bus will also be arriving on it’s way to the Democratic National Convention, inviting Sheriff to welcome undocumented immigrants to Knox county.

    Undocumented immigrants, including one from Knoxville, Tennessee, will be speaking out in front of Sheriff J.J. Jones’ office about the harm that programs such as 287(g) and Secure Communities cause the Knoxville community. These two programs  promote collaboration between local law enforcement and federal immigration authorities, leading to increased separation of families, eroding trust between immigrant and police enforcement. On of the speakers will be Alejandro Guizar, 19, an undocumented immigrant in deportation proceedings living in Knoxville, Tennessee, who was placed in removal while walking home from a graduation party, and continues fighting his deportation even after all criminal charges were dropped.

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  • Alejandro: We're Human and We Want Our Rights

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  • Bio: Alejandro Guizar

    Bio: Alejandro Guizar

    Alejandro Guizar, 19, was born in Sinaloa, Mexico, and came to the United States with his father at the age of 9. He has lived in Knoxville, Tennessee for 10 years, and graduated from Hardin Valley Academy high school. While he attended school he was in the wrestling team, and was a respected sportsman. He has continued his education, and is currently studying biology in college. His inspiration to study is his mother, who is a micro biologist in Mexico. He wants to join the army, and be part of first-response teams during outbreaks or bio-medical emergencies. He is also an organizer advocating for the rights of immigrants in Tennessee, and has co-founded a youth organization in the state called the Unknowns Working to be Known, which will continue to work for undocumented immigrants to come out of the shadows “and show those who oppose us who we are. We are human beings, and we are not going anywhere.”

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