During the campaign, then-President Trump pledged to deport all 11 million undocumented immigrants. This month, his draconian campaign promises and dark vision of American comes to fruition as he begins his devastating campaign of mass deportations. ICE launched coordinated enforcement actions, arresting more than 680 people through raids in a dozen states across the country.
The impact of these arrests goes far beyond the hundreds of mothers, fathers, and community members detained. Entire families and communities are devastated, and there is no sign of slowing down. The Department of Homeland Security's recent memos on how to implement the extreme executive actions are terrifying.
For immigrant communities across Tennessee, the raids have unleashed a wave of fear, panic, and chaos. It can feel as though no one and nowhere is safe: a young man in Washington state who has DACA was detained, a group of men were arrested leaving a church shelter in Virginia, and a domestic violence victim in court was picked up by ICE.
We have been preparing for mass deportations since Election Day, and we want to share some of the ways we will stop deportations and keep families together. Join us in this work.
How We'll Resist Mass Deportations
Know Your Rights & Deportation Preparedness
Immigrant communities must be prepared for interactions with immigration enforcement and the threat of deportation. We are scaling up community education to make sure immigrants know their rights and prepare their families for the impact of deportation.
Since the inauguration, we've given know your rights trainings to 5,000 immigrants across the state and will host trainings in 10 additional Tennessee cities over the next two weeks. Here's resources and a list of upcoming sessions.
With partners in the legal community, we are helping families develop deportation preparedness plans to gather critical documents, make plans for their children and assets, and designate powers of attorney.
Neighborhood Defense Committees | Comites en Defensa Del Barrio
Now more than ever, our communities must be organized and ready to defend each other from raids and deportations. Since the election, we've organized Neighborhood Defense Committees (or Comites en Defensa Del Barrio) in 20 cities and continue to launch new committees.
They will ensure that immigrants know their rights, have access to accurate and timely information about policy changes and raids, and will lead local campaigns to stop deportations.
Raids Rapid Response
We are developing infrastructure in cities and towns statewide to quickly respond to reports of raids. Our response efforts will be led by directly affected communities; each Neighborhood Defense Committee is developing a 48 hour rapid response plan. We are also identifying important roles for allies to play in the rapid response work. Stay tuned for ways you can sign up to be part of community defense teams.
The Legal Force Against Raids: We're training non-immigration attorneys and law students to serve as "first responders" after raids, visit immigrants in detention, gather critical information, and identify potential forms of immigration relief.
We'll offer this training across the state, and the first one is in Nashville this Saturday, February 25th from 9am-1:30pm. There are a few spots left - register today!
Creating Communities of Trust
In his executive orders, the president essentially declared that the 120,000 undocumented immigrants in Tennessee—our neighbors, friends, family, coworkers—will live in fear of immigration enforcement agents. But to carry out his plan, the President is counting on our local governments and local law enforcement to collaborate and participate in mass deportations.
We'll be driving a local policy agenda in cities and counties across the state to ensure that our local governments and tax dollars don't support mass deportations and that all residents feel safe accessing schools and critical services. If you want to be involved in restoring trust in your community, sign up to join the campaign here.