- Associated Press - Wednesday, December 10, 2014
Obama tries to reassure immigrants to register

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - President Barack Obama on Tuesday tried to reassure immigrants that if they register under his new executive action they won’t be a priority for deportation in the future, while acknowledging another president could undo it all.

Obama heard from several participants in an hourlong town hall at an immigrant community center that they are fearful to give their information to the government. One young woman asked Obama what would happen to them if the next president ends the program.

Obama said although the assurance they won’t be deported is temporary, he’s confident they will be able to stay in the United States with their children.

“It’s true that a future administration might try to reverse some of our policies,” Obama said. “But I’ll be honest with you, I think that the American people basically have a good heart and want to treat people fairly.

“I think any future administration that tried to punish people for doing the right thing would not have the support of the American people,” he said.

He said giving people the confidence they can register will be an important part of the program’s success.


Protesters, supporters demonstrate at Obama speech

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - About 200 protesters and supporters gathered outside a south Nashville community center on Tuesday while President Barack Obama spoke inside about his executive action on immigration.

Heath Young is a stay-at-home mom who grew up in the formerly white, working-class neighborhood of Woodbine, which is now the center of Nashville’s immigrant community and the home to Casa Azafran, where Obama was speaking. Young said some of the changes to the neighborhood have been good and others bad, but she loves the diversity of her son’s preschool, which is in the same complex as the community center.

“Children, they don’t see a difference” between people of different races and ethnicities, she said.

Young was there to see the president, not to protest, but when asked, she said she doesn’t agree with Obama’s action to protect about 4 million immigrants from deportation, at least temporarily, because she thinks immigration reform should be left to Congress.

Desert Storm veteran Karen Douglas drove about an hour from Clarksville to stand behind barricades across the street from Casa Azafran holding a handmade sign in the 40-degree weather. Douglas said she made the trip because she’s concerned that allowing people without proper documentation to stay in the country will make the U.S. less safe. And she called it “a slap in the face for those people who come over legally.”

Mayra Yu, a Mexican immigrant who is now a U.S. citizen living in Nashville, said she was there to thank Obama for taking executive action on immigration. But she began to tear up when she recalled friends who will likely not be eligible for the program.


Holder addresses profiling guidelines in Memphis

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) - Attorney General Eric Holder on Tuesday urged state and local law enforcement bodies to develop their own rigorous policies regarding profiling, a day after announcing guidelines limiting the ability of federal law enforcement agencies to profile on the basis of religion, national origin and other characteristics.

Holder discussed the guidelines during a speech in a theater full of mostly Democrats at the My Brother’s Keeper Communities Challenge Summit in Memphis, the city where civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated in April 1968 while supporting protests by black sanitation workers striking against low pay and unsafe working conditions.

Holder has visited Atlanta and Cleveland in recent days to address racial profiling and community policing, a topic that has been at the forefront of the national consciousness after two unarmed black men died during confrontations with white officers in Missouri and New York.

Guidelines announced Monday in Washington replace decade-old directives established under the Bush administration. The rules cover federal agencies within the Justice Department, including the FBI, the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Some activities of the Department of Homeland Security are covered, such as civil immigration enforcement, though border and airport security screening are exempt along with interdictions at ports of entry.

The guidelines extend to local and state officers serving on task forces alongside federal agents, but not to state and local police who are primarily responsible for traffic stops, 911 calls and day-to-day interactions with the communities they patrol.

“Today, I urge state and local law enforcement agencies to look to this new federal guidance as a model and to develop their own rigorous policies along similar lines,” Holder said. “This will promote sound law enforcement techniques that will help to move us toward the ultimate goal of ending racial profiling once and for all.”


Haslam proposes changes intended to help teachers

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - Gov. Bill Haslam on Tuesday announced several proposals for Tennessee teachers, including adjusting the way they’re evaluated and creating a Governor’s Teacher Cabinet in which educators could provide ideas.

The Republican governor gave his proposals at the annual conference of Learning Forward, an association devoted to advancing professional learning for student success.

Haslam received feedback from an academic standards review process, statewide meetings with educators, and an education summit in September. The ideas he presented came from those.

“We are working hard to listen to you because we place such a high value on what you are doing,” Haslam told educators at the conference.

Haslam said he also seeks to provide educators with more information and feedback on state assessments, and improve teacher communication and collaboration.

Currently, 35 percent of an educator’s evaluation is comprised of student achievement data.

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