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by Greg Siskind

April 25, 2011


Or I should say my firm and our architect Jeff Blackledge., the world's most popular architecture web site, this week listed 12 buildings which should not be missed on a visit to Memphis. Lo and behold, the Siskind Susser building made the list.

My law partner Lynn Susser and I found out five years ago that the bank in our old space was expanding and the landlord was going to push us out at the end of our lease. So we decided that it was time to buy a building so we would have some more control over our future. Plus, we thought it might make a good investment.

We found the ugliest building in Memphis. It was basically a 12,000 mostly windowless, concrete box built in 1971 that had all of the charm of a parking garage or a nuclear fall out shelter. Fortunately, Lynn has great taste and a lot of imagination and saw potential. She found a talented, hip young architect who also saw potential. And we told him to go crazy.

The results were dramatic. Outside, a new wild facade made most people think the building was brand new. And the inside of the building has a chic, industrial feel with fun, bright colors. I know coming to work in a cool setting makes me enjoy what I do even more and I hope that's true for my colleagues. And it's nice to be partially responsible for making Memphis look a little nicer.


The antis regularly say that unathorized immigrants get a range of public benefits but don't pay any taxes. Not so. They're paying $8.4 billion a year in sales taxes and $1.2 billion in income taxes. And they don't get most public benefits. They get public schools for their kids and emergency rooms can't turn them away. That's pretty much it.

In the mean time, a company that earned $14 billion in profits last year paid zero taxes.



DHS' misrepresentations to communities regarding their ability to opt out of the controversial Secure Communities program has drawn the attention of Zoe Lofgren, the ranking Democrat onthe House Immigration Subcommittee. From the LA Times:

A California congresswoman Friday called for an investigation into the actions of federal immigration officials, saying they lied about whether counties and states had the right to opt out of a controversial nationwide enforcement program that screens for illegal immigrants in local jails.

"It is inescapable that the [Department of Homeland Security] was not honest with the local governments or with me" about whether local jurisdictions must participate, said Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-San Jose). "You canít have a government department essentially lying to local government and to members of Congress. This is not OK."

Several cities and counties were told initially by DHS that they could opt out of Secure Communities. That includes Santa Clara County which Representative Lofgren represents. Then ICE came out and said that the program was not, in fact, voluntary. A Freedom of Information Act request recently revealed that DHS knew it was misleading municipalities when it said the program was voluntary and that's now the subject of the congressional investigation:

But internal correspondence recently released to immigrant and civil rights groups in response to Freedom of Information Act litigation reveals that ICE officials had long known that the program was not voluntary.

A month after Lofgren received the letters, Napolitano held a news conference to clarify that local officials had no say in the program.

Lofgren, whose legal staff spent a week reviewing the internal documents, said she will seek a probe of whether Napolitano or ICE Director John Morton were aware of the strategy.

"Itís unacceptable and if she knew about it, something has to be done about her, and, if she didnít, she has to do something about those who did," Lofgren said. "Clearly the people in the department were dissembling and deceiving."


From the Miami Herald:

Huge surges among Hispanic populations in the Deep South could mean a political sea change over the next two decades, as immigrants become naturalized and they and their American-born children register to vote, political and demographics experts say.

The states with some of the largest percentages in Hispanic population growth make up a large swath of the Southeast: Alabama, Arkansas, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee, according to an analysis of the most recent census figures by the Pew Hispanic Center.

In all those Republican-dominated states, the percentage of Hispanics nearly doubled.

Given the changes that are coming, it might explain why some are pushing to repeal birthright citizenship, a right guaranteed under the Constitution. The voices calling most loudly for such changes are coming from the states with the fastest changing demographics.
This is not new in America. After the Civil War, freed slaves were starting to have an immediate impact on electoral politics in the South and succeeded in electing African Americans to local and statewide office in the South. That success lasted until the 1880s when vigilante groups like the Ku Klux Klan used violence to prevent voting. Eventually, state legislatures imposed their own barriers such as literacy tests and poll taxes to largely end black suffrage for nearly 100 years. It took Supreme Court cases, the 25th Amendment to the Constitution (barring poll taxes) and the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to finally guarantee the right to vote for African Americans.

About The Author

Greg Siskind is a partner in Siskind Susser's Memphis, Tennessee, office. After graduating magna cum laude from Vanderbilt University, he received his Juris Doctorate from the University of Chicago. Mr. Siskind is a member of AILA, a board member of the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, and a member of the ABA, where he serves on the LPM Publishing Board as Marketing Vice Chairman. He is the author of several books, including the J Visa Guidebook and The Lawyer's Guide to Marketing on the Internet. Mr. Siskind practices all areas of immigration law, specializing in immigration matters of the health care and technology industries. He can be reached by email at

The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the opinion of ILW.COM.