Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) officials detained 97 undocumented people, on April 5, at a meatpacking plant in a rural town in Tennessee. According to some news reports, the raid in Bean Station, Tennessee, may be the largest detainment by ICE since the George W. Bush Administration.
In an email to mitu, an ICE spokesperson said they couldn’t disclose the size of the raid. They did, however, provide context as to what led to the raid at the meatpacking plant.
“U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation Division, and the Tennessee Highway Patrol, executed a federal criminal search warrant at Southeastern Provision. During that search, HSI encountered 97 individuals who are subject to removal from the United States. Ten of those encountered were arrested on federal criminal charges, one was arrested on state charges and 86 were arrested on administrative charges. Of the 86 administrative arrests placed in removal proceedings, ICE’s Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) placed 54 in detention and 32 were released from custody.”
According to Knox News, Southeastern Provisions — the meatpacking plant in Grainger County — has avoided paying taxes for more than a decade. They also report that the corporation has avoided paying $2.5 million in payroll taxes, which means they paid their undocumented employees in cash only.
Various communities and organizations in the surrounding parts of Tennessee have rallied to support the families left behind.
CREDIT: Facebook/Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition [TIRRC]Aside from tax fraud, Knox News also reports that the meatpacking plant had several sanitation violations. These violations affected employees and the products. Organizations such as the Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition have been raising funds and goods to help the families left behind. Many families lost their sole providers.
“Children were left without primary caretakers, and local churches have provided sanctuary for dozens of others,” TIRRC said in a press release.
“Our communities have lived under intense fear since the Trump administration began, and this raid – coupled with local law enforcement involvement – will send shockwaves across the country,” Stephanie Teatro, co-executive director of TIRRC said in a press release.
Raul, a 16-year-old impacted by the raid, lost his mom, uncle, and aunt in the raid.
Raul is 16. Instead of spending this weekend hanging out with friends, he's figuring out how to tell his two-year-old sister that their mom, uncle, and aunt might be deported. "To everyone else whose families are in there with mine, I'd tell them to fight this."Learn more: https://advancementproject.org/news/administration-criminalizes-immigrants-tennessee-raid/
Posted by Advancement Project (DC) on Monday, April 9, 2018
Raul talked about how scared he is in this situation. He also talked about having to tell his 2-year-old sister.
“To everyone else whose families are in there with mine, I’d tell them to fight this,” Raul said.
The organization has started a collection of funds, goods, and clothing for the families.
If you’d like to make a donation to their GoFundme page, click here.
There will be a prayer vigil for the detainees tonight.
Calling everyone in and around Morristown! Stand in solidarity with our impacted East TN neighbors & denounce the unjust separation of families! Today @ 6pm EST #TNRaid #HereToStayTN @HighlanderCtr pic.twitter.com/u4rW4ZIA6M
— TIRRC (@tnimmigrant) April 9, 2018