Tennessee neighbors locked arms and formed a human chain around a father and son in order to block Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents from arresting them, Newsweek reports.
On Monday morning, agents attempted to serve what’s known as an administrative warrant on an unidentified family in Nashville. Such a warrant does not permit agents to forcibly remove persons from a home or vehicle, according to Nashville’s WSMV-TV.
The family in question appears to have known that. The father and son — who had been away from home for one reason or another — drove their van to their home and parked in their driveway. They were then blocked in by an ICE vehicle. The pair refused to leave the vehicle, as was their right. The ICE agent called for help from the local police department, and decided to wait the father and son out.
Neighbors, once they realized what was going on, came to the family’s aid. Some provided food, others provided water. Some showed up with cans of gas so the father and son could keep their van, and its air conditioner, running.
By this time, several more neighbors, as well as community activists and and immigration lawyer Daniel Ayoadeyoon, showed up. Ayoadeyoon claims that ICE agents told the father and son that they would be arrested if they did not get out of the van, which they did not actually have the authority to do.
Hours passed, and eventually, the community locked arms and formed a human chain around the pair so they could safely enter their home.
Video of the incident was captured by Occupy Democrats. You can see it below.
Eventually ICE gave up and drove away.
Speaking to the media, the man’s wife thanked her neighbors for looking out for her family.
“From the bottom of my heart, thank you… Thanks to all of you who had our back today.”
Meanwhile, Nashville Mayor David Briley said in a statement that the Nashville Police Department does not assist ICE with arresting Nashville residents.
THIS!!! Neighbors help Nashville-area man after ICE tries to bring him into custody https://t.co/n1N8FK0w2m
— Tim Wise (@timjacobwise) July 22, 2019
“Our police officers do not actively participate in immigration enforcement efforts and only serve as peacekeepers… 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,” he said.
It remains unclear, as of this writing, if ICE intends to return to the home at a later time to try to serve a warrant on the family.