• Community members, local activists hold 'Lights for Liberty' vigil ahead of anticipated ICE raids

    By: Kirstin Garriss

    Updated:

    MEMPHIS, Tenn. - Undocumented immigrants are bracing themselves as U.S Immigration and Customs Enforcement begin the previously postponed raids across the country this Sunday. 

    Dozens of community members and activists held a “Lights for Liberty” vigil and called for changes inside immigration detention centers. This event was one of hundreds of vigils that happened across Tennessee and the nation. 

    Just a few feet away from the only federal immigration court for Tennessee, Arkansas and north Mississippi, a diverse crowd of community member and activists gathered to call for change Friday night. 

    “These American values, these are not things that only matter to immigrants or Latinos or Muslims. This matters to everyone,” said Mauricio Calvo, of Latino Memphis.


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    This vigil comes just one day after journalist Manuel Duran was released from ICE detention. Duran was arrested last April while he was covering a protest in Memphis.

    Calvo said his victory shines a light on the system.

    “Every single win is a victory, but we hope that Manuel’s case will highlight that it is possible. But at the same time, we know that so many other times people don’t have the clout that he had being a journalist and having a strong legal team that some people don’t have access to,” he said.

    And even though Memphis isn’t on the list for ICE raids this weekend, advocates said people are still fearful.

    “People are afraid, people don’t want to be out and be in public places, which is a shame. These are values that we hold very dearly. I, myself, as Mexican-American understand this and I want my community to feel and everyone to feel they can go and be themselves,” said Calvo.

    Duran wasn’t at the vigil, but his fiancé was there and said a few words to the crowd.

    The raids are expected in several major cities including Atlanta, Baltimore, Miami and Los Angeles.

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