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Two Months After the Raid: An Update from Morristown

In a powerful feature story this week, the New York Times recounts in vivid detail how ICE agents stormed into Southeastern Provision, a meat-processing plant in Bean Station, TN on April 5th and arrested 97 workers. It had been more than a decade since our country had experienced a raid of this size.

Read and Share: "ICE Came for a Tennessee Town's Immigrants. The Town Fought Back."

When a raid of this scale happens in our communities, it’s like a bomb goes off. Our team was in Morristown the day of the raid, and for the weeks that followed. As the tragedy and chaos unfolded it was a painful reminder of why our government stopped using this egregious enforcement tactic of mass worksite raids a decade before.

An Open Letter to Elected Officials on the One Week Anniversary of the Morristown Raid

We write to you from Morristown, Tennessee, in the aftermath of the largest workplace raid by immigration authorities in over a decade. As you’ve surely heard, on the morning of April 5th, federal agents, with the assistance of the Tennessee Highway Patrol, stormed into Southeastern Provision, a meat-processing plant in Bean Station, Tennessee. As helicopters circled above the factory and agents blocked the doors, workers were rounded up and filed into buses without any opportunity to explain who they were, how long they had been there, or whether they were subject to federal immigration law at all. 97 community members living in East Tennessee for decades, some of whom had devoted over ten years of honest labor to that factory, were shipped out of the state without even a chance to say goodbye to their spouses and children. Their families were told nothing, and were left to wonder what had happened to loved ones who never came home. Read the full letter. 

Policy Memo: The East TN Immigration Raid and Adverse Childhood Experiences

On April 5th federal immigration enforcement agents carried out the largest workplace raid in over a decade in Bean Station, TN. Ninety-seven members of our community were arrested and are now facing deportation, and 54 of them are currently detained. This was the country’s largest immigration workplace raids in over a decade, and the impact on the local community, especially children, has been devastating. In the aftermath of the raid, about 500 - 600 children (about 5% of the district's 10,000 students) were absent from school in Hamblen County, and many children are dealing with trauma as a result of the detention and possible deportation of a loved one. Read more in CNN. 

We urge the Tennessee Department of Education, the Tennessee Commission on Children and Youth, and other public agencies to investigate the impact of the April 5th immigration raid on local children and families, offer capacity and resources to the local school district in responding to this crisis, and develop plans for immediate intervention in the event of future immigration enforcement operations of this scale. Read our policy brief.