On the sidewalk in front of The Clairmont Apartments, representatives from the American Civil Liberties Union and the Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition denounced an Oct. 20 raid of the southwest Nashville complex by Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents that is said to have resulted in the detention of more than 20 residents who were allegedly undocumented.
Immigrant representatives and witnesses say agents broke into the apartments and arrested men and women at gunpoint, forcing them to leave their children behind.
"They came and took my friends and their family members — people who take care of me after school and look out for me every day," said a 13-year-old boy whose name is being withheld.
Immigrant representatives know of no criminal charges filed against the people who agents rounded up, and they claim that warrants were not presented before agents entered the apartments by force. One source says they were taken to a detention facility in Ft. Payne, Ala., despite the fact that Davidson County has a facility that participates in 287 (g), a federal program that allows local law enforcement to screen and detain undocumented immigrants.
Leading up to the raid, advocates say conditions at the department had deteriorated, and that absentee management failed to address issues such as insect infestation, a lack of hot water, unusable bathrooms and broken windows.
Since taking office, the president has signaled an intent to move away from home and workplace raids, placing the onus on employers to ensure workers are documented. Both candidates for Tennessee governor have expressed similar sentiments about employer accountability.
This isn't the first time Hispanics have had trouble at the Clairmont Apartments. In 1999, a Scene investigation discovered a private security company was beating, harassing and often extorting Hispanic residents of the Clairmont, then known as Ivy Wood.