Hermitage, Tennessee: Bold Action by Neighbors Prevents ICE from Grabbing Immigrant Man and His Son

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On the morning of July 22, a truck with two ICE agents pulled behind a parked van with a man and his son inside, preventing them from leaving the driveway of their home in Hermitage, Tennessee, a Nashville suburb. A neighbor who had stepped outside for a smoke saw what was happening. She said ICE told the man “You’ll have to exit eventually.” According to a lawyer who came to the scene later that morning, the ICE agents threatened the man, and told him “If you don’t come out, we’re going to arrest you, and we’re going to arrest your 12-year-old son.”

But the two remained in the van, and the woman began calling other neighbors and an immigrants rights group to the scene. Soon, as The Tennessean reported, about a dozen people—Black, white and Latino—surrounded the van, and “worked to bring water, cold rags, and sandwiches to the man and his son, and filled their gas tank so they could keep the AC running.” After several hours, people linked arms to provide safe passage for the man and boy into their house.

The entire scene was observed by cops from the Metropolitan Nashville Police Department, who had been called out by ICE for “assistance.” But police and political officials in Nashville said their cops were on the scene “only as peacekeepers,” and had no authority to participate in an immigration bust. And, as it turns out, the ICE pigs were violating their own law in threatening the two people – they had warrants that allowed arrests only in a “non-REP” area – an area with no “reasonable expectation of privacy,” not in someone’s vehicle or home. After several hours, ICE left. According to news reports, people in the neighborhood said if ICE comes back, they are prepared to protect their neighbors again.

Learn from This, Build on This

The bold and courageous response by the people in this Tennessee neighborhood should inspire everyone who despises the relentless persecution of immigrants that has been underway for years in this country, and has escalated dangerously in the years of Trump’s presidency. Busts like the one these ICE pigs attempted in Hermitage come down every single day – in homes, along streets and roads, in shopping areas, apartments, workplaces, and parks across the entire country. No one should “look the other way,” or pretend the most they can do is livestream an unacceptable injustice, when they see it happening where they are.

Many, many more actions like the one in Hermitage are needed, and are vital in contributing to a social atmosphere of defiance and resistance. Further, actions like this can and must contribute to the urgently needed massive and sustained resistance to the anti-immigrant offensive the Trump/Pence fascist regime has undertaken, especially if it is built as part of a larger fight to drive out this fascist regime altogether.

Screenshot from Twitter video

Also see this newscast from WKRN-TV, Nashville.

Bob Avakian's Answer to People Who Complain about Immigrants Crossing Borders

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