By Ulrike Salazar
Activists and community members of Hermitage, a working-class suburb of Nashville, successfully prevented a man from getting arrested by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents last Monday.
Concerned onlookers witnessed plainclothes ICE agents following their neighbor’s van as he pulled into his driveway.
Unable to get the man to step out of his van, ICE notified the local Metro Nashville Police Department for assistance. Neighbors responded by notifying the local ICE Rapid Response Network that, in turn, rallied activists to the Hermitage home.
Dozens of supporters showed up and several began filming ICE agents and police. Activists donated gas to keep the van running and brought food and water to the man and his son who was also inside the vehicle.
After approximately four hours, ICE agents gave up and left. Activists created a barrier around the neighbor’s parked van, creating a path for safe passage to the front door, concerned that ICE agents were waiting like vultures just out of view.
ICE will not forget about this momentary defeat, and they may still go after the man as well as the activists who defended him. This happened in Los Angeles in the case of Claudia Rueda and her mother Teresa Vidal-Jaime. Claudia is an immigrant rights activist, and when US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) arrested her mother, Claudia and other groups initiated a campaign for her release. After Teresa was released however, CBP came for Claudia. Late last year she filed a federal lawsuit against the Department of Homeland Security for illegal retaliation.
Activists and revolutionaries must organize undocumented immigrants and their allies into highly-disciplined people’s militias capable of defending the undocumented immigrant masses. What happened in Nashville is progressive, and it should inspire others to combat and resist ICE. The movement needs a collective outlook, built on the faith of the masses and a revolutionary anti-imperialist analysis on immigration.
According to reports, the rapid response activists transported the man and his family to a safer location and are currently working with other groups to figure out the next steps to protect him. The man was not identified in the news reports.