PRESS STATEMENTFriday, April 6, 2018Contact: Jacob Weinberg | Jacob@tnimmigrant.org
More than one hundred people rounded up, some with work authorization and others leaving small children without careBEAN STATION, TN - Nearly one hundred people in a meatpacking plant were arrested and detained in the largest immigration workplace raid to date under the Trump administration. Workers at the meatpacking plant reported rough treatment and detention despite having work authorization, a clear violation of the law and basic, constitutional rights.
Children were left without primary caretakers, and local churches have provided sanctuary for dozens of others. Eyewitnesses also report that local law enforcement blocked roads around the plant, creating a sense of chaos and panic within the community.
The Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition (TIRRC) first found out about the raids shortly before 11:00am on April 5th, and immediately deployed staff and volunteers to provide legal intake and other supports. Thus far, TIRRC has helped nearly 90 people complete legal intake forms, and the facts displayed show a clear and disturbing pattern of abuse at the hands of law enforcement.
The immigration raid comes after a series of federal attacks on immigrant communities from Washington. Earlier this week, the White House announced it would send federal troops to the border despite historic lows in border crossings.
The following is a statement from Stephanie Teatro, Co-Executive Director of the Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition:
“Our communities have lived under intense fear since the Trump administration began, and this raid – coupled with local law enforcement involvement – will send shockwaves across the country. The community has shown tremendous strength in the face of this brazen attack on its members: Churches have become sanctuaries for those who feel unsafe, community leaders are speaking out against the attack, and we will continue to fight for basic, Constitutional rights for all. No one – not even the president – can take those away.”
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.