An incident in Nashville, Tennessee, on July 22, shows that whatever happens in legislative halls and courtrooms, the arrest and deportation of undocumented aliens can be a tricky and contentious matter in the streets and, literally, in the driveways, of America.
On Monday morning in a working-class neighborhood in Nashville, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) attempted to pull over a white van. A man was driving the van; his 12 year old son was also inside.
The driver did not pull over, but drove into his home’s driveway, and once there locked the doors of the van and refused to leave. An ICE vehicle blocked the end of the driveway. Neighbors saw the standoff, informed activists what was going on, and those activists informed their networks. The neighbors also filled up the van’s gas tank to ensure that the two people inside could keep their air conditioner working in the late-July Nashville heat.
While the stand-off continued, others arrived in the dozens to show their support. One activist live-streamed an hour of footage, which as of this writing has more than 133,000 views on Facebook.
The ICE officers did not have a warrant, so they were not willing to make forcible entry into the van (or the home). They were acting only on the basis of an administrative order from their superiors within ICE.
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ICE officers eventually gave up, and left the scene. Then the neighbors and volunteers formed a “human chain” to surround the two people in the vehicle. Those two finally left the van, walked up their driveway, and into the door of their home.