PRESS STATEMENTFriday, April 7, 2018Contact: Nick | email@example.com
Nearly 100 immigrants were arrested, families found refuge local worship spaces, faith leaders held press conference April 7th condemning raid MORRISTOWN, TN - On Thursday, April 5th, nearly one hundred people in a meatpacking plant were arrested and detained in the largest immigration workplace in decades. Workers at the meatpacking plant reported rough treatment and detention despite having work authorization. Children were left without primary caretakers, and local faith communities provided sanctuary for dozens and collected donations for families of those being detained. In this time of chaos and panic within the community, faith leaders and community members held a press conference at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church in Morristown, TN on April 7th to condemn these raids and their hurtful impact on community members.
Father Steve Pawelk of Glenmary Home Missioners from St. John Paul II Mission offered testimony:
“My little community in Grainger County is where the raid took place. Thursday we invited people to gather at the church, trying to find out what happened and who was where. We had ten households from the congregation take in families. One of our families, Cecilia and Daniel are preparing for confirmation on April 21st. Their three uncles will not be present, their father will not be present, their brother in law will not be present. This is what this is about, families that are being torn apart. The beautiful thing has been to see wonderful people, other churches and counselors coming from around the state to help. So it is wonderful to see those who understand the compassion of Christ. ”
Elisabeth Morales whose husband was detained largest workplace raid in Trump era shared her story:
"My Husband was detained. By speaking out we can help get our family members released, mothers and fathers are gone from their children. I have been twenty years in Morristown. All my children were born here, I hope we can bring back my husband for the future of our children. My husband is sick, he has diabetes, we're worried about him that they're not treating him very well. We need your help, through your prayers, and anyway to bring our families back together."
Pastor Fabiola Ortega, Minister at Center of Life Christian Church said:
“Three brothers of our congregation were taken by Immigration Customs Enforcement, from no fault of their own, but only for working for their families to try and provide a better future for their children. It was so heartbreaking for me, calling all the parents in our congregation to make sure everybody was safe, many of the children went home and didn’t find their mom and their dad. This is so sad, we didn’t expect this, when people are doing the right thing, working hard, caring for our children. We need to be prepared in the future, we don’t know if this could happen again.”
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.