Memphis is not listed as one of the 10 cities that Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents will focus on by arresting and deporting undocumented people with removal orders.
However, that is not stopping people from rounded up in Memphis.
Earlier this week, ICE agents detained a man in Memphis on Jackson Avenue. A Memphis pastor recorded the incident on his cellphone while one of his church members was stopped by ICE.
“Do you have a document to arrest them? Where is your document to arrest and hold these people behind over here?” pastor Rolandro Rostro is heard in the video saying to agents.
For more than an hour, a family of four sat in a red pickup truck on Jackson Avenue because they were surrounded by ICE agents.
“I was frustrated. We had not seen any documents, the family hadn’t. I was thinking I need to get there and stop them because who are you?” Rostro said.
Rostro questioned agents for several minutes, begging to see official documents.
ICE agents wanted to get to the driver, but his wife and two young children were also in the car. The pastor said the 31-year-old from Honduras refused to get out without seeing a warrant.
Memphis police were called to help out with the disturbance.
After all the back and forth, the paperwork was presented. It showed the driver was deported once before and had come back into the country again.
The agents broke the window and took the undocumented father of two into custody.
“I saw their faces, their agony. I saw the wife losing her husband, the children losing their father,” Rostro said.
The Southern Poverty Law Center, which represents Manuel Duran – a jailed Memphis journalist – issued a statement regarding the expected ICE raids:
“Raids by ICE to detain and deport families will do absolutely nothing to address the very real immigration policy issues we face as a nation. Instead it will only terrorize and tear apart families and communities and drive others further into the shadows. Our attorneys and advocates will be monitoring the situation closely and ready to respond in any way we can to assist those who will suffer as a result.
“As Congress prepares to vote on additional funding for these agencies, they must acknowledge that they are funding and permitting these policies to take place. Additional monies will only provide more funding for this administration’s policies; policies that intentionally seek to tear apart families. No more money should be allocated to an agency that contends that traumatized young children who have been ripped from their parents’ arms are not worthy of the most basic care.”