NASHVILLE, Tenn. (CBS Local) — Residents in Hermitage, Tennessee, formed a human chain around their neighbor’s van Monday to prevent Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents from taking him into custody.
The man had entered his van with his son, 12, when an ICE vehicle blocked him in. Over the next few hours, neighbors came out to support their neighbor, bringing them water, gas, and wet rags so they could stay in their van.
“We made sure they had water, they had food, we put gas back in the vehicle when they were getting low just to make sure they were okay,” Felishadae Young, a neighbor, told CBS affiliate WTVF.
After about four hours, the neighbors created a chain to allow the father and son to run into their home.
Nashville Noticias, which provides news and information to the Hispanic community in the Nashville area, shared video of the standoff on Facebook.
After the ICE agents left, the neighbors once again formed a chain to help the family into a car so they could leave their home.
“I could see if these people were bad criminals, but they’re not, they’re just trying to provide for their kids,” said Stacey Farley, a neighbor. “The family don’t bother nobody, they work every day, they come home, the kids jump on their trampoline, it’s just a community.”
The ICE agents had an administrative warrant. While that does allow ICE to detain someone, it doesn’t allow ICE to forcibly remove someone from their home or vehicle, WTVF reports.
“There were two immigration officials sort of bullying a family inside of their own vehicle, telling them that they had an administrative warrant, which isn’t the same thing as a judicial warrant, and trying to harass them and fear them into coming out,” Daniel Ayoadeyoon, a local lawyer who came to the scene to help, said.
“They were saying, if you don’t come out, we’re going to arrest you, we’re going to arrest your 12-year-old son, and that’s just not legal, it’s not the right law,” he said.