On Friday afternoon, Latino Rebels received the following media statement from the Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition (TIRRC) in response to the Thursday news that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) shot a gun in an attempt to apprehend a man. This is the statement:
NASHVILLE — Yesterday in Antioch, an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agent shot and injured an unarmed man in a grocery store parking lot. According to media reports, the agents were attempting to arrest the man on civil immigration charges. According to his attorney, the agents did not have a warrant for his arrest and the man was exercising his right to leave the scene. As he was driving away, an ICE agent drew his gun and fired several shots at the vehicle, shooting the man in his stomach and elbow. Several hours after being shot, the man surrendered himself to the FBI agents who were investigating the shooting and sought medical treatment for his injuries.
“ICE was trying to separate a man from his family yesterday, but they could have killed him. We are relieved that the day ended without further violence and that the man was able to receive life-saving medical care,” said Mary Kathryn Harcombe, Legal Director with the Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition (TIRRC). “We were deeply troubled by the way that early media reports allowed the ICE agents to frame their use of deadly force as self-defense. As videos and more information about the shooting surface, we demand that the investigation be thorough and impartial. The ICE agent who fired the gunshots should be held accountable for his excessive and unreasonable use of force.”
VIDEO: @NC5 obtained video of the incident involving an ICE agent firing at a box truck with a man he tried to arrest. Federal officials say this was a possible assault on an ICE agent. STORY: https://t.co/9iHR9TBkQg pic.twitter.com/rswfIwqHNL
— Matthew Torres (@NC5_MTorres) September 5, 2019
The shooting yesterday is not the first time the brutality of immigration enforcement in Tennessee has been exposed.
Last April, dozens of ICE agents stormed into a meat-processing plant in Bean Station, Tennessee, arresting 104 workers. Seven of the detained workers have since filed a lawsuit against the ICE agents who conducted the militaristic raid. The complaint details how ICE agents pointed guns at workers’ faces and how they were punched in the face and shoved to the ground by ICE agents.
Beyond the physical and, in this case, near deadly violence, ICE agents are wielding in the enforcement of civil immigration law, they are creating a climate of immense fear that is terrorizing and traumatizing the entire community.
“In the wake of yesterday’s shooting, we were fielding dozens of calls from Antioch residents, terrified that the ICE agents were still in the neighborhood conducting immigration enforcement. Teachers rode the school bus home with their students who lived in the area, uncertain if it was safe for them to return home,” said Camila Herrera, Services Director at TIRRC. “ICE is a rogue agency that is enforcing civil immigration law with shocking cruelty. ICE does not make our communities safer or stronger.”
“Nashville residents are painfully aware of the danger that ICE presents to their lives and their families. It is urgent that our city agencies do everything in their power to draw a bright line between the critical services and resources they provide and the work of ICE agents. Entanglement between our local government and federal immigration agents erodes trust in our community and makes all of us less safe,” Harcombe added. “Beyond the immigration aspect, our city must also address the ongoing pattern of law enforcement’s unequal treatment of people of color. The city needs to listen to and heed the demands of Black communities who have experienced violence at the hands of local law enforcement agents and have been organizing for urgent reforms. No matter where we’re from or the color of our skin, we all deserve to feel safe in our city.”
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. For more information visit www.tnimmigrant.org.