Check out this cover story on Knoxville’s Juan Quevedo from the Spring 2015 issue of the Tennessee College of Law alumni magazine. Quevedo went public about his experiences as a way of helping to change the climate for unauthorized immigrants in the US. From the article:
“I have fallen deeply in love, not with a human being, but with the law. Not with walking the dog or gazing at the stars or watching the sunset, but with seeking equal justice, organizing for civil rights, and advocating for genuine representation of the low-income and undocumented immigrant community.” – Juan Quevedo
Common Myths about Immigrants and Immigration in Tennessee
Myth #1: Undocumented immigrants are criminals.
In fact, unlawful presence in the United States is a civil violation of federal law, not a crime. Therefore, undocumented immigration status does not make someone a criminal. While some public figures claim that immigrants are filling our jails, many of those same individuals support legislation that turns everyday activities into crimes—like driving to work or renting an apartment. According to U.S. Census data, immigrants have the lowest rates of imprisonment for criminal convictions in American society (Migration Policy Institute). The incarceration rate of the US born (3.51) is four times the rate of the foreign-born (.086). Between 1990 and 2004, the number of foreign-born in Tennessee increased by 267%; but in the last ten years, the overall crime rate has actually decreased, and the rate of violent crime decreased by more than 5% (Tennessee Bureau of Investigation).