FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASEThursday, August 16, 2018
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At least 20 children had a parent arrested in worksite raid
DICKSON, TN - Yesterday morning, ICE agents arrested nine people while they were working at Jet Printing Company in Dickson, Tennessee. Workers reported that around 10:00am, dozens of armed law enforcement officers and canine units entered the factory. ICE later issued a statement that while they were executing a search warrant for one individual, they chose to arrest nine workers they encountered during the search and initiate deportation proceedings.
Later in the day, five women were released from ICE custody and will fight their deportations from their communities. Four men remain in custody.
At least 20 children, from 8 months to 17 years old, were left without a parent in the hours following the raid. Many are U.S. citizens whose parents have lived in the U.S. for at least a decade.
Staff from the Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition (TIRRC) have been in Dickson since learning about the raid yesterday afternoon, collecting information and providing support for the families and the community. The Dickson raid is the latest in a series of worksite raids carried out by the Trump administration. In April of this year, ICE conducted a massive raid in Bean Station, Tennessee, arresting 97 people and signaling a return of using worksite raids as a tactic to carry out mass deportations.
The following is a quote from Lisa Sherman-Nikolaus, Policy Director of the Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition (TIRRC):
"From Memphis to Morristown, we've seen how worksite raids terrorize hardworking Tennesseans, tearing apart families and spreading panic and fear throughout the community. Hardworking parents who are contributing to the economy shouldn't have to spend their workdays worrying about whether or not they will make it home to see their kids.
Yesterday in Dickson, 20 children faced their worst nightmare; many of them came home from school to empty houses afraid they would never see their mom or dad again, and parents sat in detention worried about whether or not their children would be taken into state custody. Senseless family separation doesn't just happen at the border, it is happening right here in Tennessee.
In small towns like Dickson and Morristown, the harmful impact of immigration enforcement is felt widely. Churches, schools, and local businesses are all impacted by the loss of family, colleagues, and friends. Already TIRRC has received calls from community members in Dickson worried and afraid to leave their homes. TIRRC is working to provide support to those impacted, sharing know your rights information and coordinating legal representation. We will continue to organize communities to fight back against mass deportation policies that tear apart hardworking Tennessee families."
TIRRC is a statewide, immigrant and refugee-led collaboration whose mission is to empower immigrants and refugees throughout Tennessee to develop a unified voice, defend their rights, and create an atmosphere in which they are recognized as positive contributors to the state. Since its founding in 2001, TIRRC has worked to develop immigrant leadership, build the capacity of its immigrant-led member organizations, help immigrant community members understand and engage in the civic process, and educate the public about policies that would better promote integration of new immigrants and facilitate their full participation in US society. In just a few years TIRRC has grown from a grassroots network of community leaders into one of the most diverse and effective coalitions of its kind, a model for emerging immigrant rights organizations in the Southeast and throughout the United States.