- Associated Press - Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Recent editorials from Tennessee newspapers:

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April 6

The Tennessean calls for the release of journalist Manuel Duran, who was detained while covering Memphis protests and now faces deportation:

Journalist Manuel Duran was arrested for doing his job: For exercising his First Amendment rights.



He now he faces deportation from the United States.

The 42-year-old Salvadoran immigrant was live-streaming demonstrators in Memphis protesting immigration detention and enforcement policies on Tuesday when he was wrongfully detained.

Duran’s status as an undocumented immigrant complicated his release from Shelby County jail, but prosecutors eventually dropped the charges.

Unfortunately, Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents were waiting in court to seize him.

He will likely be booted out of what has become his home unless ICE releases him. The federal agency should free him because Duran should never have been arrested.

It is a difficult case, exposing a broken immigration system that makes it hard for undocumented residents who want to contribute to their communities but cannot earn their legal status.

There are 11 million people in this nation who are living in the shadows because of their legal status.

Not Duran. He has been a voice for his community and has documented the good and the bad.

He started in Memphis in 2008 on La Voz 1240 radio, where he was co-anchor of a morning radio show and a newscaster on “Minuto 60.”

He was news director and co-anchor at Ambiente 1030 radio station until 2017. Now, he owns Memphis Noticias, a local news source for the Latino community.

He has interviewed local officials such as Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland and Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell.

He also has been at risk for deportation for some time.

An ICE spokesman said an immigration judge ordered Duran be deported in 2007 for failing to make a scheduled court date. That was 11 years ago, during the George W. Bush presidency.

The Trump Administration has begun a purge of undocumented men, women and children - some who have lived peacefully for decades in America. That includes Thursday’s raid of a meatpacking plant in Grainger County, where ICE held 86 people to check their immigration status. Of those, 54 were detained for further immigration proceedings.

They have worked at jobs - not stolen them - and they have also paid taxes without receiving benefits like Medicare or Social Security.

There should be a solution to fix the system and allow immigrants like Duran a path to experience and enjoy the American Dream and contribute to the nation’s success.

Congress has failed numerous times over the years to do so. This year, shamefully, Congress abandoned an effort to provide a permanent solution to recipients of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, a program that President Trump ended. Without a solution, 800,000 people - including 9,300 Tennesseans - who are working or going to school will be at risk of being deported.

Regarding Duran, the Constitution does not distinguish between citizens and non-citizens when it comes to exercising First Amendment freedoms.

He was exercising the right of freedom of the press to hold government accountable, and he was wrongfully punished for it.

Journalists like Duran should not be arrested for doing their jobs. ICE should free him so he can continue fearlessly reporting on his community.

Online: https://www.tennessean.com/

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April 11

The Daily Times of Maryville on crime victims’ rights:

You don’t have to look far to find information about crime victims. If you’re holding the newspaper, just turn the page to 4A and you’ll find Blount Records.

There’s a listing of incident reports ranging from thefts to vandalism, from fraud to domestic violence. You’ll also find the alleged perpetrators listed under arrests. Using the digital version, www.thedailytimes.com, just go to Public Records then to Blount Records.

Records are among the most-read items in the paper and online. People are curious about what’s going on in their community, on their street and with people they might know. For another thing, people care.

That last part, the caring part, is why this is National Crime Victims’ Rights Week. In Tennessee, the Board of Parole, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, the Department of Correction and the Tennessee Rehabilitative Initiative in Correction are marking 10 years of ceremonies honoring crime victims and victim advocates statewide.

There are 10 Crime Victims’ Week ceremonies being held in the state, with the closest to Blount County set for 2 p.m. Thursday at the Knoxville Police Department Family Justice Center, 400 Harriet Tubman St. This year’s national theme is “Expand the Circle - Reach All Victims.”

Victims of crime can be the most neglected of all those affected by a criminal act. Once the deed is done, the focus is on the bad guy and on law enforcement efforts. Then the criminal justice system chugs along to the court phase and onto correctional facilities and parole hearings later.

Victims of crime can feel left out - a fifth wheel as the system rolls along at its own pace. It doesn’t have to be that way, but the challenge is huge. Americans are the victims of 20 million crimes each year, and they affect individuals and communities.

Officials, the smart and dedicated ones, realize that reaching and serving victims of crime is essential to supporting thriving communities. They recognize that victims face barriers such as isolation, distrust of authorities, language limitations, lack of transportation or cultural barriers.

There’s no one-stop shop. The criminal justice system can’t do it alone. There’s a need for a broader array of health care providers, community leaders, faith organizations, educators and businesses that can provide new links between victims and services that improve their safety, healing and access to justice.

There is a lot of talk about rights, and for good reasons. But let’s not forget about the rights of crime victims. We need to be dedicated to strengthening victims and survivors in the aftermath of crime, building resilience in our community and in our victim responders.

We need to work for justice for all victims and survivors - and not just for one week a year.

Online: https://www.thedailytimes.com/

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April 11

Johnson City Press on early voting:

Local politics certainly are taking on a national flavor this election season. Negative campaigning has become the new normal, and it only leaves voters casting ballots on emotion rather than real concerns.

The barrage of accusations, attack ads, robocalls and social media propaganda in local races drowns out any reasoned debate, forcing even informed voters to grasp for substance.

It’s no wonder voters are so apathetic.

Participation is especially bad in non-presidential election years, and Tennessee voters traditionally are among the nation’s worst offenders. According to a Pew Research Center study, just 29 percent of eligible Tennessee voters cast ballots in the 2014 midterm elections, placing the Volunteer State 50th out of 51 states and the District of Columbia. Only Texas was worse.

As early voting begins today in the Republican and Democratic primaries for county offices, don’t let the babble keep you from exercising your constitutional right to participate.

Voting is the most important responsibility of citizens in our representative democracy. While rallies, letters, petitions and other forms of free speech have influence, voting is the only direct way you determine outcomes.

So delve beyond the caterwauling and find the meat in the campaigns. One good place to start for Washington County’s races is the Chamber of Commerce survey of candidates posted on our website at JohnsonCityPress.com/tags/chamber-survey. You’ll find answers to core questions from candidates for county mayor, trustee, circuit court clerk, register of deeds, sheriff and commission seats.

But regardless of which county you call home, do your own research. Find out where the candidates stand on the concerns you value most. And if the noise tells you one thing, it should be the nature of the bullies involved. Character does matter.

Then vote. Vote in the primary - during early voting or on May 1. Vote again in August and in the November midterm elections. Local, state and national offices are on the line.

Early voting runs through April 26. Check with your local election commission for poll locations and times.

Online: http://www.johnsoncitypress.com/

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