Residents of a Nashville community showed their support for their neighbor when ICE agents followed him and a 12-year-old child traveling with him to a home in their area. According to AOL, ICE agents first attempted “to stop the white van in Hermitage early [one] morning, but when the driver would not stop, they followed him to a home.” After the van came to a stop in front of the home, the agents, who had occupied an unmarked vehicle, blocked the van in the driveway.
Neighbors quickly caught sight of what had been transpiring.
Local police officers eventually arrived at the scene and neighbors had come outside to “lend their assistance.” While some people were live-streaming the incident as it played out on social media for others to see, staffers from the Tennessee Immigrant & Refugee Rights Coalition (TIRRC) also showed up to show their support as well. According to a statement issued by the TIRRC, “the ICE agents had no judicial or criminal warrant to apprehend the man who was within his rights to remain in the van.”
Neighbors, who told local media outlets “that ICE picked the wrong community on the wrong day,” had delivered food, water, and gasoline to help the man and the child stay fed and hydrated while they remained in the van. Neighbors even formed a human chain that ran from the van to the house so the man and the boy could make their way into a home once ICE agents and police finally left the scene several hours later. The source stated that the local police officers who had arrived at the scene were merely there to serve as peacekeepers to ensure neighbors, ICE agents, and the occupants of the vehicle remained safe and would have “no role” in the matter.
Why did neighbors take the initiative to help protect the man and 12-year-old boy?
Many of the neighbors who helped the man and child reported that “they were worried and outraged because some had known the family for more than a decade.” The TIRRC also said that the incident that occurred showed “how deeply rooted immigrants are in [the] community.” The reality is, while many associate undocumented immigrants with the rise in criminal activity, there are a large number of individuals who have never had any sort of encounter with police or other law enforcement officials.
In fact, many of the immigrants living in the U.S. have been doing so for decades and have not, in any way, contributed to the increasing crime rate. These individuals not only managed to build a lifestyle that would be safe for themselves, but also for the relatives they traveled with and the children they brought into this world.
Unfortunately, in today’s day and age, we are seeing more and more individuals who have been living in the U.S. for years being detained by ICE agents and thrown into deportation proceedings. Families who are seeking refuge are also being separated at the border resulting in small children losing contact with their parents and other close relatives. Aside from the Trump Administration enforcing immigration law, immigration officials are also organizing raids in an effort to detain immigrants who are living in the U.S. illegally.
Here’s What the TIRRC Suggests You Do If Ice Comes to Your Door
- Do not open the door. If an ICE agent comes to your home without a signed warrant issued by a federal court judge, don’t open the door. The TIRRC says that they can only come into your home if you allow them to do so.
- Remain silent. Although you may feel obligated to explain yourself or answer questions being asked by police or immigration officials, you do hold the right to remain silent. The TIRRC recommends you say, “I plead the fifth amendment and choose to remain silent.” Whatever you do say to an ICE agent can be used against you so it best not to say anything at all and let an immigration attorney do the talking for you.
- Do not sign anything. If ICE gives you a document to sign, only do so after you have consulted with an immigration lawyer.
- Report and record. If you are in a public place, you might consider recording what is transpiring between you and the officers. If you live in New Jersey and are ever approached by an ICE agent, contact the Law Office of Eric M. Mark
If you are worried that ICE may be watching you or that you are at risk of being deported and you live in New Jersey, don’t wait to contact the Law Office of Eric M. Mark. NJ immigration attorney Eric. M. Mark can explain what your rights are and what he can do to protect them.
The Law Office of Eric M. Mark is located at:
Jersey City Office
121 Newark Avenue, Suite 515
Jersey City, NJ 07302
201 Washington Street
Newark, NJ 07102
20 Commerce Drive, Ste. 135
Cranford, NJ 07016