BEAN STATION, Tenn. (WATE) – The impacts of one of the largest raids in East Tennessee are still being felt one year later.
According to immigration and customs enforcement on April 5, 2018, ICE, Homeland Security Investigations, the Internal Revenue Service, and the Tennessee Highway Patrol executed a federal criminal search warrant at the Southeastern Provision Meatpacking plant in Bean Station.
Controversy continues to stir over ICE calling it the execution of a search warrant and many others calling it an ICE raid.
What cannot be debated is the hundreds of students who failed to show up to school the next day – and the emotions that are still felt in the community.
To mark the anniversary of the raid, the Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition, also known as TIRRC, will gather Saturday in Morristown with workers, families and other first responders to remember and reflect on the ongoing impacts of the raid.
With a vigil, they will recognize and remember those who were deported and those who are still awaiting their court dates.
ICE cannot comment further until Southeastern Provision owner James Brantley is sentenced. He pleaded guilty to multiple felony charges last September.
Brantley is expected to be sentenced this June. He faces a maximum of more than 25 years in prison and more than half a million dollars in combined fines and charges.
Brantley agreed to pay $1.4 million in restitution by his sentencing date.
Of the 97 workers who were detained, 13 people accepted voluntary departure and have left the country, six were deported, five remain in federal custody on criminal charges, not immigration charges and 73 are home with their families fighting deportation.
Since the raid, a lawsuit has been filed on behalf of all the workers who were arrested and detained – alleging ICE agents engaged in racial profiling, illegal searches and arrest.