On Thursday, Immigration and Customs Enforcement raided a rural Tennessee company and arrested and detained 97 immigrants. The company was a meat-packing company called Southeastern Provisions in Bean Station. This is said to be the largest immigration raid in a decade, since President Bush was in the White House, reflecting Trump’s hard stance on immigration. Of those detained and arrested, ten were for federal immigration charges, one for state charges, and 86 were detained for being in the U.S. illegally. Of those 86, 32 were released almost immediately, while the other 54 continue to be detained.
The raid was enacted under the guise of a federal criminal search warrant for the meat-packing company, which was under suspicion for tax evasion as well as hiring immigrants in the country illegally, without checking documentation. This investigation began after the local bank noticed the large sums of money that Southern Provisions was withdrawing. Southeastern Provisions has yet to be indicted with any criminal charges. The working conditions at the company were also under scrutiny, as many workers were made to work overtime without extra pay, and made to work in harsh physical conditions, such as working with bleach without goggles or other protection.
VERDICT: As this was the one of the largest immigration raids in history, it is easy to see that Trump is not backing down from his bottom line on immigration. On Friday, the day following these arrests and detainments, Trump also announced the end of the “Catch and Release” policy which would allow immigrants to be released after being detained, while waiting for a hearing. Immigration Activists have denounced this raid, citing that people are afraid to leave their homes for fear of being detained. Additionally, the economic burden is a clear problem for families of these workers, creating an immensely difficult situation for this community.