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ICE raids Grainger County meat packing plant

BEAN STATION, Tenn. (WATE) - U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s, Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation Division and the Tennessee Highway Patrol were all on hand at Southeastern Provision for a federal criminal search warrant execution that lead to an immigration investigation.

Roads were closed Thursday morning around Southeastern Provision in Bean Station, Tenn for law enforcement investigation. An official with ICE confirmed to us that the federal agencies were on hand to execute a federal criminal search warrant that lead to investigations into the immigration issues.

"During that search, HSI encountered individuals who may be subject to removal from the United States.  Those individuals who are determined to be subject to removal will be administratively arrested and placed in removal proceedings, we cannot release specifics on the arrests, " said ICE Public Affairs Officer Tammy Spicer.

Dozens of families stood across the street from the National Guard Armory in Morristown on Thursday. They were told their loved ones were brought there after the raid. Some waited for hours to see if their loved ones were going to be released. Maria and Michelle Farias hoped to see their cousin walk out.

"It's really frustrating for us because one of our family members are going to be detained or may be even deported, so it's been hard on our families," said Maria Farias.

WATE 6 On Your Side found out not many were escorted outside the National Guard Armory. Isabel Zelaya was one of the few. He works at the meat packing plant and reunited with his family. They stuck around to wait for more than 10 other loved ones.

St. Patrick Catholic Church in Morristown posted to Facebook on Thursday evening that any family that didn't feel safe staying in their homes could come to the parish center.

Community members kept a running list of workers still inside in armory. On Thursday afternoon, roughly 100 names were on it.

"I don't think it's fair. I don't think it's fair because it's not something bad that these people are doing and now they are being separated from their families," said Veronica Galvan.

Anyone seeking information about relatives who may have been detained should call (888) 351-4024. Families can also visit the ICE detainee locator website for more information by clicking here.


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