Sessions ‘not shedding any tears’ over ICD raid on TN meatpacking plant

Speaking at a law enforcement conference in Gatlinburg, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions promised to continue being strict on illegal immigration and said he’s “not shedding any tears”    over the recent ICE raid on a meatpacking plant in Grainger County, reports the News Sentinel.

Newly appointed U.S. District Attorney Doug Overbey introduced Sessions, who delivered a 25-minute speech including criticism of the “fuzzy-headed left” as well as promising to add 35 prosecutors and 18 immigration judges to border states to deal with backlogs on immigration cases.

The Bean Station, Tennessee raid happened April 5 when agents detained 97 workers at the Southeastern Provision meatpacking plant on Helton Road. Of those detained, 42 remain held in a federal detention center in Louisiana under threat of deportation, according to Stephanie Teatro, co-director of the Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition. 

Another 10 face federal charges of defying previous deportation orders.

“You don’t get to get an advantage in this country by having large numbers of illegal workers working for you,” Sessions said of the plant. “I’m not shedding tears around this. You don’t get to benefit from being in this country and looking around the world for the cheapest worker you can find. That’s just not good policy for this country.”

Teatro said Sessions should have mentioned that the employer, Southeastern Provision, should also be held responsible for the raid.

“Ironically, the employer is the only character in this story that hasn’t paid any price – he has yet to be arrested or face charges and the plant is still operational,” she said in an emailed response. “ICE could have decided to audit this employer, and forced him to pay fines. Instead, ICE made a decision to engage in the most aggressive, violent form of enforcement it could take at this worksite, leaving 160 children without a parent from one day to the next.”

… Bishop Richard F. Stika, of the Diocese of Knoxville, responded in a news release, to Sessions’ remarks:

“I have seen tears shed by families torn apart by the aggressive enforcement of immigration laws under this and previous administrations. I again ask our lawmakers to address this issue in a dignified way.”

… State Rep. Jason Zachary, R-Knoxville, said the Bean Station raid was unfortunate and said Congress is to blame for the nation’s immigration woes because it hasn’t fixed a broken system…. “If you have a heart, nobody likes to see that … but we have laws in this country and they have to be followed.”

… State Sen. Becky Duncan Massey, R-Knoxville, agreed, and said the country isn’t able to take care of the world.

“My thing is we need to be more consistent,” she said. “If we’re going to have laws we need to enforce them. If we have them and don’t use them then we need to change them.”

8 Responses to Sessions ‘not shedding any tears’ over ICD raid on TN meatpacking plant

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    Steve L. says:

    And folks like La Razza Randy sends conflicting messages to the immigrant community encouraging illegal immigrants to flood this country. His public face says: No immigrants. His private face says: we need the cheap labor and it is ok to come hear illegally. HRC made such duplicity an acceptable political tactic in order to get get all votes. Vote Diane Black or Bill Lee in the coming primary. Not Boyd!

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      Stuart I. Anderson says:

      I agree with just a little refinement. First Beth Harwell is no better or worse than Diane Black and hopefully Bill Lee. Second, the ANYBODY BUT BOYD strategy calls for us not to split our votes willy-nilly among three candidates while the centrists, gullible tepid conservatives, and Democrats voting in the Republican Primary give their votes to Randy!. Rather, why don’t we wait until right before early voting begins and see who has the best chance of beating Boyd then unite and give that person our vote. For conservatives, eight years under Randy! will be difficult, but there probably won’t be a dimes worth of difference in our lives no matter who is successful as between the other three.

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    Stan Butt says:

    Encourage your Congressman to support the H1C guest worker program and we will be at least headed in a position direction for needed labor.

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    James White says:

    Is it not against state laws to hire illegals? I agree with Teatro, perhaps Sessions can have the employers charged at the federal level. And they SHOULD !

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    William Upton says:

    I hope this trend to start enforcing our laws continues!

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    Steve L. says:

    Have they found the owners? I thought they fled. Agreed on the prosecution. Send them to Mexico with the illegals. Broke and without US citizenship. Would that be sufficient deterrent? And on the Governor, I see nothing from Harwell or Lee at this end of the state (East). Strategy to win? Or are they pacing themselves. I have donated to Lee and volunteered. I have heard nothing from his campaign. Black is running a better campaign. Just my observation from East Tennessee, the Conservative stronghold of the State.

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    Bob Fischer says:

    Did they have a warrant? If not, then the arrests were illegal without cause. They need to be released. Constitutional rights apply to all people, not just citizens. We are a constitutional republic whose laws need to be upheld.

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