Hermitage, Tennessee, Community Members Form Human Chain To Block ICE From Detaining Neighbor

July 23rd 2019

Free Our Future. Abolish ICE ( Fibonacci Blue )

Free Our Future. Abolish ICE (Fibonacci Blue)

By Gabe Ortiz

Daily Kos

Hermitage, Tennessee community members rushed to a neighbor’s home to protect him and his son from Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents early Monday morning, Nashville Scene reports, at one point forming a human chain around the van where the family had been stuck so they could safely exit into their home.

“Neighbors say the man and his son were in a van parked in their driveway, with a white pickup truck driven by an ICE agent parked behind them, blocking them in,” Nashville scene continues. “Soon more than a dozen neighbors were gathered outside the home, along with immigrant rights advocates, as the man and his son sat in their van, beginning a standoff that lasted several hours.”

Attorney Daniel Yoon was among those present, and said agents tried to present a warrant that wasn’t signed by a judge. "There’s no judicial review, no magistrate review, no probable cause,” he said. “It doesn’t give them the authority to break down a door like you would with a normal warrant.” Yet, “they still lied to the individuals inside and to people on the scene about, ‘No, this does give us that authority.’”

It does not—and “Know Your Rights” trainings have been credited with stopping unshackled mass deportation agents from sweeping up immigrants. “Yoon says immigrant rights advocates on the scene stood outside the van assuring the man that he did not have to listen to the ICE agents' commands to exit the vehicle,” and brought them food and water as they waited out the agents for several hours.

Around 10 AM, agents gave up and left the scene, though Metro Nashville Police Department officers had also been present. Apparently ICE had called them to complain that the man wouldn’t leave the van, and “requested the police department’s assistance, but did not specify what he wanted the police department to do … the officers were instructed to not be involved in the service of the detainer, but to stand by from a distance to keep the peace if necessary.”

Police should absolutely not aid ICE in any way, because immigration enforcement is not their job, and it will scare communities into not reporting crime or when they’ve been the victims of crime. The neighbors were reportedly trying to convince police to leave, and may have been making progress when ICE left, which then prompted police to also leave. The family stayed, and in Facebook Live video uploaded by Nashville Noticias, neighbors who formed the human chain cheered after the family safely left the van and into their home.

Neighbor Angela Glass said the family has “been living there for 14 years. They don’t bother anybody. Our kids play with their kids. It’s just one big community. And we don’t want to see anything happen to them. They’re good people. They’ve been here 14 years, leave them alone. To me, they’re considered Americans.” Another neighbor reportedly said, “They came to the wrong community on the wrong day.”

Posted with permission