Tennessee Immigrant & Refugee Rights Coalition versus Human Rights First!

No, there’s no fight! No conflict!

That’s the point.

HRF helps individual refugees in New York City and in Washington, DC, by finding and training volunteer lawyers to help them win asylum. And it fights for human rights at home and abroad.

TIRRC helps individual refugees and other immigrants on the ground — specifically in Tennessee.

Beneath my mountain garb, I wear a “100% Attendance” Tennessee Lions Club pin to honor TIRRC. (My Kangaroo Club pins are on my other pelt.) Because TIRRC is in Tennessee all day, every day.

There are religious, philosophic, moral and legal reasons for Tennesseans to support TIRRC and its goals. We’ll address those another time. But for now, let’s be selfish.

In their own words:

The Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition (TIRRC) . . . empowers immigrants and refugees throughout Tennessee to develop a unified voice, defend their rights, and create an atmosphere in which they are recognized as positive contributors to the state. Since its founding in 2001, TIRRC has worked to . . . help immigrant community members understand and engage in the civic process, and educate the public about policies that would better promote integration of new immigrants and facilitate their full participation in US society.

This is important work.

Like all of us, immigrants (who in Tennessee are about half-and-half, authorized and unauthorized) have a responsibility to the community, and they accept it willingly . . . if we let them. According to the American Immigration Council, immigrants are more than 6% of Tennessee’s labor force. Asian and Latino immigrants own Tennessee businesses with annual sales and receipts of $5 billion, these immigrants spend $10 billion, and they pay hundreds of millions of dollars in taxes, creating and supporting thousands of jobs. Foreign-born Tennesseans age 25 and older are more likely than natives to have a bachelor’s degree; educated workers are particularly effective at job creation. So immigrants do their part! But like people everywhere, Tennessee’s immigrants — most of whom, even the unauthorized, have lived in the U.S. for many years and have American kin — sometimes need a hand. TIRRC helps make Tennessee safe and welcoming for these folks who enrich the rest of us.

So TIRRC helps you and me!

Support Human Rights First! And particularly if you’re from Tennessee, please click here to DONATE to TIRRC so they can continue to do God’s work to welcome the stranger and promote the social and economic well-being of all Tennesseans.