NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) - The immigration conversation grows louder in the Midstate after U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents tried to arrest a Hermitage man. The incident began early in the morning in the driveway of a home on Forest Ridge Drive.
The man stayed in his car for about three hours and the ICE agents eventually left without making an arrest.
"This really is hitting close to home," said Susan Hudson McBride, a community member.
In a statement posted on Twitter, Councilman Bob Mendes, who was at the scene, said neighbors brought the man food, water, and gasoline as he waited in his car.
At one point, neighbors and witnesses formed a human chain to allow the man to walk back to his house.
"What I did see, which was absolutely beautiful, neighbors and community members from all over Nashville coming together quickly and surrounding this family with support," McBride said.
Federal officials at the scene told News4 they tried to serve an administrative warrant. They couldn't force the man to get out of his car or his family to come out of the house.
"When ICE comes to your door, you have no obligation to open the door unless they have a judicial criminal warrant," Lisa Sherman-Nikolaus, Policy Director for the Tennessee Immigrant & Refugee Rights Coalition said.
After staying in his car for hours, the man avoided arrest and the ICE agents left. The man has not been identified.
"I could not imagine how that family was going to be able to rest tonight. I mean after something like that something that traumatic," McBride said.
Officers with Metro Police were on scene, but were not involved in the attempted detainment, according to police spokesperson Don Aaron:
"An ICE representative telephoned the Emergency Communications Center at 7:19 a.m. He relayed that ICE attempted to stop a white Ford van, the driver would not stop, but did proceed to a driveway on Forest Ridge Drive. The caller said the driver was sitting in the van and was not getting out. He requested the police department’s assistance, but did not specify what he wanted the police department to do. When the police arrived, they learned that ICE was attempting to serve a detainer only on the individual. The man was sitting in the van with a 12-year-old boy.
The officers were instructed to not be involved in the service of the detainer, but to stand by from a distance to keep the peace if necessary. ICE ultimately left while the man was still in the van. The police left accordingly."
Mayor David Briley also released a statement Monday afternoon:
"It is my job as Mayor is to keep all Nashvillians safe.
This morning, ICE agents attempted to detain a Nashville resident. However, the agents did not end up detaining the resident, and no arrests were made.
Our police officers do not actively participate in immigration enforcement efforts and only serve as peacekeepers. The officers were at the incident today to keep neighbors safe and secure a perimeter.
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.
I will continue to work with local advocacy organizations like TIRRC to make sure residents know their rights and that support and resources are available for undocumented immigrants should the need arise."
Nashville Sheriff Daron Hall provided interviews to media Monday afternoon to clarify his office's role with ICE arrests. The Sheriff's Office also tweeted out a statement:
The Davidson County Sheriff’s Office (DCSO) does not, in any way, participate in Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) raids, including housing those detained by ICE during these raids in Davidson or any other county. Full statement below: pic.twitter.com/DGC2tni9qm— Nashville Sheriff (@NashSheriff) July 22, 2019