ICE Raids: Electrolux in Tennessee

After ICE raids in Tennessee

Elias Quijada was put out of business when ICE raids forced the workers of his body shop into hiding. (photo: JOHN PARTIPILO)

[Kasama received the following report from Immigration News Briefs]

Between Dec. 12 and 20, ICE arrested 31 people in the area of Springfield, Tennessee. The roundup came after Nashville television station NewsChannel 5 aired a Dec. 5 story charging Electrolux Home Products with hiring undocumented immigrants at its factory in Springfield, which employs about 3,500 people and produces electric and gas stoves.

Within a few days after the television report, the company began reviewing the paperwork of existing employees at the plant. As many as 800 workers lost or walked away from Electrolux jobs, said Tommy Vallejos, executive director of HOPE, a Tennessee immigrant advocacy group. "There are people who are so afraid, they have not collected their final paycheck," Vallejos said. According to a NewsChannel5 source, Electrolux dismissed 120 employees on Dec. 13 and another 52 on Dec. 14. An Electrolux spokesperson said the company has begun to use the Department of Homeland Security's E-verify system (formerly known as Basic Pilot) to check the authenticity of documents provided by new hires.

On Dec. 12, ICE arrested two people accused of selling identification to immigrants who used it to get jobs at Electrolux. The two have been charged by a grand jury of the US District Court. Also on Dec. 12, ICE arrested 14 suspected undocumented immigrants, New Orleans-based ICE spokesperson Temple Black confirmed. On Dec. 19, ICE arrested four immigrant workers at the Electrolux facility; by the end of the day on Dec. 20, ICE had arrested 11 more immigrants at homes and apartments in and around Springfield. The raids spread fear through the area, with some people estimating that as many as 1,000 residents have since fled the city or gone into hiding. [The Gannett and Robertson County Times (Springfield, TN) 1/9/08, Robertson County Times 12/19/07; NewsChannel5.com 12/15/07]

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It is now estimated that about 1,000 people have fled Springfield, Tenn. or gone into hiding in the wake of the raids and the terror they have caused.

Immigration News Briefs is a weekly supplement to Weekly News Update on the Americas, published by Nicaragua Solidarity Network, 339 Lafayette St, New York, NY 10012; tel 212-674-9499; weeklynewsupdate@gmail.com. Subscribe by sending an email to immigrationnewsbriefs@gmail.com with the words "subscribe" in the subject header.

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