Neighbors of a suburban Nashville family came together to protect an undocumented man as Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials attempted to arrest him earlier this week.
The attempted arrest led to a four-hour standoff during which the man and his 12-year-old son were forced to stay inside a van outside their Hermitage home as ICE agents tried to bully them to come out. It is then that neighbors, activists, and even local politicians showed up and helped create a human chain to allow the family to get indoors.
“At that point it was being extra cautious and letting the family know, look, we got your back, we’re between you and the unknown, and here’s a safe pathway back to your front door,” Tristan Call, a volunteer at Movements Including X(MIX), told TIME magazine. Call was a part of the human chain.
“All of us were volunteers today,” Call added. “It wasn’t like a big nonprofit, or like a big law firm or something like that. This is something any group of people can do.”
Footage of the incident, shot by Call, went viral.
The Tennessean reports that ICE, who had called local police for backup, only had an administrative warrant for the man. ICE agents with administrative warrants can detain someone, but they cannot forcibly remove someone from their home or vehicle.
Metro Nashville police confirmed they were present but only as “peacekeepers,” not assistants, to the ICE operation.
As the standoff continued, neighbors made sure the father and son had water, food, and gas in the van, WTVF-TV reports.
“I could see if these people were bad criminals, but they’re not, they’re just trying to provide for their kids,” neighbor Stacey Farley told WTVF-TV. “The family don’t bother nobody, they work every day, they come home, the kids jump on their trampoline, it’s just a community.”