Neighbors prevent ICE from detaining migrants during 4-hour standoff

A group of neighbors in Hermitage, Tenn., formed a human chain Monday morning to prevent an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agent from trying to bring a man into custody.

News Channel 5 Nashville reported that an ICE vehicle had blocked the man, who was inside his van with his son, from leaving his driveway.


Over the course of the morning, neighbors brought the man water, gas and wet rags to allow him to remain in the van, according to the outlet. After about four hours, the group formed a human chain to allow the two to run from the vehicle and enter their house.

“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 OK,” Felishadae Young, one of the man’s neighbors, told the outlet.

According to News Channel 5, the ICE agent present an administrative warrant, which authorizes the bearer to detain people, but not to forcibly remove them from their homes or vehicles. The agent reportedly left after the man and his son went into their home.

“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,” said local lawyer Daniel Ayoadeyoon. Ayoadeyoon came to the man’s house to provide legal support, according to the channel.

Metro Nashville police officers were also at the scene, but authorities were only there to have a presence after being contacted by ICE.

Nashville Mayor David Briley issued a statement noting the presence of Nashville Police Department officers and saying that they were there to keep neighbors safe and to secure the perimeter, rather than assist in detention.

“I am keenly aware that this type of activity by our federal government stokes fear and distrust in our most vulnerable communities, which is why we do not use our local resources to enforce ICE orders,” Briley said.

Neighbors said they suspect ICE will return and added that they intend to stage a similar intervention if and when authorities do return.

ICE said in a statement that the agency did not conduct enforcement that would “encounter persons discriminately.”

"No at-large ICE arrests happened today in Nashville. That said, in general, ICE conducts targeted enforcement of federal immigration law on a daily basis in accordance with our routine, ongoing operations,” ICE said in its statement.